Rudi Garcia expects Roma to end their Cagliari taboo “to extend the lead over Napoli and close the gap on Juventus.”
It kicks off at the Stadio Sant’Elia on Sunday at 14.00 UK time (13.00 GMT), click here for a match preview.
The Giallorossi are now within eight points of the Serie A leaders, who lost their 22-round unbeaten run at Napoli last week.
“Roma haven’t won at Cagliari for 19 years? It is always difficult to win away from home, but tomorrow we will change that statistic,” said Garcia in his Press conference.
“Obviously Juve have an advantage, so we must do our bit, get to within five points and then wait. Nothing changes as far as I am concerned. There’s a month and a half left and we know that means those trailing have fewer chances to get away with errors.
“Tomorrow we will try to get the three points, as it is the best way to extend the lead over Napoli and close the gap on Juventus.
“Our objective was to get back into Europe and we have done that. Now there are more games left and it’s normal to raise the bar, as now we want to be in the Champions League directly, whether that’s in first place or second.
“The other objective is to play for the fans. When I saw Rodrigo Taddei celebrating with the Curva Sud, I thought we’d already achieved that target too, giving pride and joy back to the fans. That image of Taddei was perfect and that objective to win back the smile of the supporters was more important than the Scudetto.
“At the end of the season we’ll talk with the owners and directors to see what we can do. We must first end this campaign as high as possible. I don’t want to fall into the trap of talking about the transfer market or contracts when there are still games to be played.
“The truth is that the squad next season won’t be the same as it is now. Perhaps Barcelona won’t change, because they are banned from doing so, but every other squad in the world will change at least one player. The only thing we can say for sure is that we want to improve Roma every year and this current side really isn’t bad...”
Adem Ljajic has struggled to find his confidence recently, but Garcia has high hopes for the Serbian.
“Adem is a diamond in the rough, just like Eden Hazard when he arrived at Lille. Within four years he was a completely different player and the same can happen to Adem. He has real talent.”
The trip to Cagliari will be very difficult for Radja Nainggolan, who spent most of his career in Sardinia and still goes back to visit regularly.
“We talked. When a player has been with a team for a long time and was very happy, it’s normal this is going to be on an emotional level a very special game,” explained Garcia.
“He has Cagliari in his heart. He’ll give his all for Roma and to win with us, but with all the necessary respect for his former club.”
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