Rudi Garcia believes Roma and Gervinho “can do a lot better” after a thrilling 3-2 Coppa Italia win over Napoli.
It was only the first leg of the semi-final, so the decider is at the San Paolo on February 12.
“The priority was to win. Of course, it’s better not to concede away goals, but we saw a great game tonight,” the Coach told Rai Sport.
“Mistakes can happen and that is how Napoli scored, but they have quality and so do we. We’ll see the second leg, as we will certainly go there to clinch qualification.”
Roma had been 2-0 up, but Napoli got it back to 2-2 before Gervinho completed his brace in the final minutes.
“Am I surprised Gervinho is doing so well? Absolutely not. I think he can do a lot better, as he has some things to work on.
“Above all he needs the faith of his Coach and his teammates, as he said this week that when he gets the ball he plays either to provide an assist or to score. Things are going very well for him and for Roma.
“He’s in great form and we know that when we play four games in a row it’s not possible for the captain to be in all of them. All my players are important and they are all first choices.
“Francesco Totti played very well for an hour. I had thought of making different choices, but as Gervinho was on a good night I thought it best to leave him out there. On 2-2 I really wanted to win this game and we achieved it.”
The game had seemed to be locked down, but a Gonzalo Higuain deflected strike 120 seconds after the restart transformed Napoli.
“The goal changed everything psychologically, as Napoli suddenly had confidence and we had a drop in concentration, but I liked the reaction after 2-2 that brought us to win the match,” continued Garcia.
“The start of the second half caught us napping. I said at the start of my half-time talk and again at the end, as I knew it was fundamental, that we had to start strong. We had a two-goal advantage, but started the second half without aggression. I always say attack is the best form of defence.
“I think the chances of qualifying are 50-50. We know that we can score against Napoli, but also that they have a very strong attack. If we see another game like this, it’s a good advert for football.
“Roma can certainly improve, as tonight we conceded two goals, which we’ve hardly done all season. Above all, we mustn’t lose this desire to win, as that is the great strength behind Roma. Every player is utterly determined to get the victory and we cannot lose that.
Garcia also revealed an intriguing nickname the Roma players have for Kevin Strootman.
“He can play with more consistency. We call Strootman the Washing Machine. We know when the team is in trouble, you give the ball to Kevin and even if it’s a bad pass, he cleans up the mess.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!