Rudi Garcia explained his unusual tactical choices, felt Roma were “the best team” in Naples and handed the Scudetto to Juventus.
The Coach surprised many when dropping Mattia Destro in favour of Michel Bastos and Gervinho as a centre-forward in the 1-0 defeat to Napoli.
“Simple, we decided to wait for Napoli and go on the counter with Gervinho, Florenzi and Bastos. We had many scoring opportunities and only missed that little bit of luck to convert them,” Garcia told Sky Sport Italia.
“We played with character and maturity, so I don’t think the defeat was deserved. We saw tonight that in football the best team doesn’t always win.
“Mattia came back from international duty with a slight injury and couldn’t play 90 minutes, but the truth is I didn’t want to leave too much space to the opposition full-backs, as Maggio and Ghoulam could do damage. That’s why I chose some energy on the flanks.”
Roma have fallen off the boil recently, scoring only one goal in their last three games since Francesco Totti’s injury.
“I am not worried, as you need a little bit of luck to score. Our shots went very close to the goal, whereas Napoli’s chance hit the bar and went in. Let’s also not forget Reina made some great saves.
“It’s true we can be more effective in attack, but we hadn’t played this well in a while and to do so on Napoli’s home turf is really impressive.
“Maybe we have also lost some confidence and determination in attack, so we need to work on that. The goal is a good Napoli move, but it was simple to defend against. It is true that attack is the best form of defence, but we lost possession a few times to allow counter-attacks. The first line of defence is always the forward, so it’s just a shame that we forgot that on the goal.”
Roma still have a three-point advantage over Napoli and a game in hand, as their home tie with Parma was rained off.
“Of course I remain confident of second place. If we play like this, we will win many games for the rest of the season.
“The main concern is not the defeat, but Kevin Strootman and we hope that we haven’t lost him for a while. He is in a lot of pain, the knee is swollen and he had a nasty knock, then sprained it a few minutes later.”
However, Garcia acknowledged Juventus can start planning their title party after going 14 points clear at the top of the table.
“Mathematically the Scudetto race isn’t over, but realistically it is. There’s a huge gap now and we have to win our next home game, hoping some players return from injury. Francesco Totti will hopefully be available.”
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!