Sunday December 1 2013
Garcia: 'Why Pjanic didn't start'

Rudi Garcia explained his surprising tactical choices after Roma’s fourth consecutive draw with Atalanta.

“We only played for the final half-hour, but did it brilliantly. We haven’t just equalised, but in my view deserved to win it,” he told Sky Sport Italia after a last-gasp 1-1 draw in Bergamo.

“In the first hour there wasn’t enough movement, Atalanta weren’t dangerous and neither were we, which was the real problem.”

Pjanic and Adem Ljajic were surprisingly on the bench, even though Francesco Totti, Marco Borriello, Federico Balzaretti and Vasilis Torosidis were absent.

“Yesterday Miralem had to interrupt training with a muscular problem, so he was not fit to start the match. At times in football you have to make changes, but Michael Bradley and Marquinho also deserved to start, as they did very well this week in training.”

Garcia felt the Giallorossi deserved a penalty for a Michele Canini handling offence, though it was from point-blank range on Douglas Maicon’s shot.

“It was a handball. The whole stadium saw it and so did the viewers at home. These things happen – they happen a bit too often around us, but they happen.

“What we need to do is play every game the way we did the last half-hour today. That is very important for the players to understand, as then we won’t need to worry about bad luck or refereeing errors, because we’d need nothing except ourselves.”

Having won the opening 10 rounds and set a Serie A record, Roma have now drawn four on the bounce.

“I don’t think opponents approach us any differently to the start of the season. We are the problem. It’s good to know that strong performance was in the last 30 minutes, as it means we have physical fitness and psychological strength to come back from a goal down.

“Totti is recovering, but we need patience and common sense to ensure he returns fully fit. The last half-hour was great, so we proved that we can play excellent football even without the captain.”