Roberto De Zerbi blamed Italian journalists on the eve of a Europa League Round of 16 second leg against Roma, saying that some of them are ‘unfair’ and have made him become a ‘divisive’ coach in Italy.

The Italian tactician held a press conference on the eve of a Europa League Round of 16 second leg against Roma. He faced questions from English and Italian reporters and one of those was about the perception media and fans in the Peninsula have about his playing style.

De Zerbi has often been described in Italy as one of the leading representatives of ‘Giochisti’, coaches who play attacking football without caring much about the result. Opposed to the ‘Giochisti’ there are the ‘Risultatisti’, pragmatic coaches, such as José Mourinho or Massimiliano Allegri, who mostly care about the results, but it’s a narrative that De Zerbi has never really enjoyed.

When asked why he is perceived as a ‘divisive’ coach in Italy, De Zerbi provided a straightforward answer: “I always try to take a position and be correct with everyone. I think that many of you [journalists] are unfair,” he said as quoted by Voce Giallorossa.

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“I’ve never liked compromises. I’ve never called anyone, and I’ve never accepted compromises wanted by somebody else. Some people have emphasised this way of being divisive by comparing Giochisti [those who play good football] and Risultatisti [those who want to win].

“I’ve always worked with passion and respect. There aren’t always competent and honest people among you [journalists], and when I found these people, I didn’t try to find a compromise. You can write anything you want. Of course, I am sorry because my family lives in Italy, and I feel it’s unfair to be so divisive. You do that, not the fans. Being divisive depends on you, not me. It depends on how you say things and your truths. I’ve always respected everyone, but there is no fairness in some judgements. I think you emphasise this division when you talk about ‘Giochisti’ and ‘Risultatisti.’

“Sometimes, this happens in a not entirely transparent way because somebody among you is unfair. I respect almost everyone in your category, but not those who do not respect others. I don’t talk to them, I don’t give them interviews, and I don’t accept compromises.”

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