Thursday July 24 2014
‘Astori? Roma need a defender’

Rudi Garcia liked what he saw in Roma’s win over Liverpool, whilst he admits that amid links to Davide Astori: “We need another defender.”

The Giallorossi have emerged as late candidates to pick up the Cagliari centre-back, just hours after his club announced a move to Lazio had fallen through and that he had signed a contract renewal.

“We all know that we need another central defender. This is why I have brought many youngsters along to see if more than one can help us in the season.

“Sabatini is working on this and we need to find the right man to be even stronger this season.

“We will see later, but there is no rush to find this central defender, but if there is an exciting opportunity then we will take it.”

Garcia was talking after Roma’s 1-0 win over Liverpool in Boston, where Mehdi Benatia started, but came off at half-time.

“That was what was intended for him and for Iturbe. To them this was the first game, they had not played in the last friendly and this was the plan.

“If Keita managed an hour then it was appropriate that Mehdi and Juan Manuel played 45 minutes.

“Iturbe’s game? We should not expect too much from Iturbe, we must work tactically. He is one that has characteristics of a high level and I think his game can improve with further potential.

“He likes to go deep and look for the counter-attack and he must know how to do everything. The interesting thing with Iturbe is that we signed him early and so have time to work with him.”

The Coach used a lot of youngsters during yesterday evening’s contest.

“The best of the youngsters to have played? Both squads played many youngsters and it is always good to see them.

“I liked very much the defensive play, as when you do not have the legs you have to use your head and even the youngsters have done this.

“We suffered early in the game under the pressure from Liverpool, but it was normal, we trained in the morning and knew that it would be difficult for the players to find the right rhythm.

“We improved in the second half, we changed the formation and we were more balanced. We were without Strootman and also for this game De Rossi and Pjanic.

“I loved the midfield because when you play someone like Keita you can have great possession, whilst in the second half I liked Paredes and Ucan.”

Louis van Gaal has pulled attention as Manchester United manager this week for complaining of the disruption the tours to the United States have.

“It is true that these games are not the best, but when we do these tours at the start of the season it means that we are among the big clubs and we need to adapt to these things. It is very important to settle things well, there are many long trips, sometimes we play at noon and we will have to adapt.

“The only thing we know is that the Italian League starts later than the others and it would be best to start as soon as possible, even to try to arrange friendlies at the end of the season.

“With all the teams, we are playing against Inter, unless they have a more advanced preparation.”