NEWS
Monday March 24 2014
Garcia: Focus on second place

Rudi Garcia has urged his Roma side to focus on finishing in second place come the end of the season.

The capital club host Torino tomorrow evening, but with only 10 games of the campaign remaining, the French Coach has asked his players to give their all in order to qualify directly for next term’s Champions League.

“What separates us from Juventus? They're having a record-breaking season, but so are we - all we can do is win and see what happens come the end of the season,” he told a Press conference.

“Next season is still a long way off and it's too early to discuss it. There's one thing we need to keep our eyes on: the standings.

“I just want to keep going forward. My team has 64 points and I just want our total to be 67 come the end of the Torino match.

“What difference is there with our rivals? I just want to finish second, even with a few injured players.

“I don't tend to talk about other teams. I'm happy with my squad, this season and happy to be here.

“We'll do everything we can to stay second. I think our only reasonable goal should be to retain second spot between now and the end of the season.”

The tactician then commented on the match against Il Toro, and some of the changes he may make.

“Maicon only spent part of the session with the squad this morning: his knee still hurts, we've got another 24 hours to assess him – although it's nothing serious – his complaint is just related to pain.

“I hope it's all subsided come tomorrow morning. Benatia's ban? Toloi will come in for him.

“The way you play always depends on the players on the field and those available in your squad. When Mattia and Francesco are out there, it's not like it is when Florenzi and Llajic play, who often change positions.

“Who we can pick from in midfield has a big impact on this and we currently have a number of players missing in there. I'm still very happy with my midfield, even without Strootman and De Rossi.

“We've done very well. We'll keep going with our own play. Second place is not sewn up yet, we mustn't let up: we have to do everything to win at home tomorrow.

“I weigh up how much to tinker with my side from game to game. It depends on my players' fitness.

“Gervinho for instance is a unique player on our roster and he's currently showing that he's healthy game after game.

“We still have a number of matches to play and will need to analyze every player individually to pick the best side.”

Garcia concluded by remarking on last night’s El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the difference between Spanish and Italian football.

“Last night's El Clasico was top quality and a great advertisement for football in general, although there were a number of cards and one team ended the game with 10 men.

“Here in Italy we also have great teams that are always competing at the top. We only have two automatic qualifiers into the Champions League and one spot for the qualifiers - our League is very tough.

“La Liga is very interesting for the fans because the title race is still open, while it's boring when a team wins the league with two months to spare. The strength of a League depends on the clubs' economic power and their ability to buy players.

“It's great for Serie A when talents like Higuain and Tevez come in. You need to have the chance to create great teams and make the league more open.”

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!

FOOTBALL ITALIA RELATED NEWS

TODAY'S FRONT PAGES