Rudi Garcia has updated on Mehdi Benatia, explained the importance of attitude for Roma and on plans with Francesco Totti.
The Giallorossi’s preparations for the new season have in part been hit with continued speculation linking Mehdi Benatia with a move away.
The latest club said to be interested are Chelsea, but they distanced themselves yesterday from a reputed €37.5m offer.
For Benatia’s current Coach, the continued reports are nothing to be overly concerned over.
“It’s normal, we are in different worlds. Yours is to find hidden things that sometimes are not there,” Garcia has told reporters today.
“Yesterday I read that he had 99 per cent signed for a club and today he is 99 per cent staying at Roma.
“Yesterday I was looking for a replacement, today I am not…
“There will be time for Benatia to talk. As long as you speak of this story it will be difficult. Anyway, thank you, I really enjoy this…”
Garcia was talking from Roma’s final pre-season training base at Bad Waltersdorf, Austria, and turned attention to the start of the season.
“We never know if by the first week of the season we are ready or not. I trust the fact that we have maintained the squad from last year, and that in this time already we have improved.
“You have to bring in new faces and youngsters and on this point we have, whilst the expectation was to work hard, without considering the friendlies. What matters is the behaviour of the players, not the result.
“Now we will focus on the tactical side, whilst it is normal that after the World Cup, not everyone is at the same physical condition.”
The 50-year-old was asked about his plans for the team, and if particular players were ahead of others.
“They are all on the same level. What is important is the attitude, everyone is questioned, the Coach and the players. I think our strength this season will be to have two players of equal strength for each position.
“We must maintain the will to win and know when to be nasty, in a good way and not in an aggressive way. This was important last year. This year will be much tougher than last season, but it will be interesting.
“Concretely, we are outsiders, but I am okay if many consider us as favourites. We will make sure we are at our best even if we start as outsiders.
“Are we more mature than last season? We know it will be tough, the first week of the season will give us the opportunity to fight every second for every inch.
“It will not be enough to just enter the field - if we think it is, it will do us harm. Luckily, we have experienced players. Winning is even better when it is difficult, I believe.”
Garcia was asked about Roma’s ‘European’ style of play and if it is well suited to the Champions League this year.
“It is difficult to answer this. I really do not know what is meant by the European game. I think that in Italy there are teams that play well to attack and to score.
“There are teams that wait with everyone behind the ball, but I think that our identity is clear, whilst a squad that adapts is strong, it means they can do everything.
“A team that wins signifies one that is right. Football is like that, you lose a game in 10 seconds, or by 15 centimetres. We are also all a little focused on the present, on immediate action, but we must not forget what has already been done.”
The players will use cryotherapy this season to aid recovery after games.
“The recovery of the players will be important this year, because we have a lot of games. It is necessary that the players do well when at home, because we cannot control this and it will be up to them to do so, whilst when they are with us we will do everything to recover them as best as possible.”
It was put to Garcia that he would be planning two Roma teams this year - one when Francesco Totti is able to play, and one when he is not.
“There will be a mixture of teams, I will not make two. It will depend on a number of things. It is true that there are relationships between players on the pitch that may by of interest to the team.
“When there is this understanding, the Coach has to take it into consideration. Francesco on the pitch can clarify situations, we all know this.
“He has to stay in shape and when a player of that level is fine physically, he can do it all. No matter the age, he always has the desire to play and my job is to do so in a way that maintains his physical condition.”
The Coach also discussed progress so far this summer with Juan Iturbe and Mattia Destro.
“You have to give Iturbe time. He is improving physically and the important thing is that he is very attentive, he is trying to do the things on the pitch that I ask of him, but there is also the fact to allow for his intuitive expression.
“We have to find the balance between tactics and attacking creativity.
“And Destro? Everyone is important, Mattia played for half a season last year and did very well. For him and for us it is important that he has taken part in pre-season.
“Mattia is working well, he has had the chances, and when the team can get the ball to their strikers then it is a good sign of the level of health of the team.
“Then, there are times when the ball hits the post or it goes into the net or not. It’s better that it enters the net in real games.”