Wednesday January 8 2014
Reloading the Giallorossi

Having lost their unbeaten start to the season with defeat at Juventus, Rudi Garcia is tasked with getting his Roma outfit back on track. Luca Cetta writes.

Scheduled for the initial round following the winter break - and given it was first versus second - there was much hype surrounding Juventus’ clash with Roma.

For the Bianconeri it was the chance to move clear of the chasing pack approaching the second half of the campaign. Rudi Garcia’s men could reignite their chase after a stuttering end to 2013. They were confident their fourth Juventus Stadium trip would prove more fruitful than the first three, all losses. Following 90 minutes of high-octane action, Roma’s 17-match unbeaten start to the season was brought to an abrupt end. It’s a new sensation for Garcia.

Not often has he struggled for answers during his short stint in Italian football. But in the face of a Juve side content to allow the visitors possession and territory - nullifying their counter-attacking threat - Garcia’s men were toothless in the final third. Roma played well, but could not break through the Bianconeri wall.

The Frenchman admitted his surprise at the tactic: “We played a very good first half and I had forgotten we were playing on the home turf of the Serie A leaders, who usually kept possession and pushed opponents back into their own half here.”

Roma were then hurt by the Turin club scoring immediately after the interval. Whatever was said at the break essentially went out the window. “It hurt to concede straight after the restart,” mused Garcia. His side were shell-shocked and offered little afterwards.

They then cracked before Garcia’s eyes. Daniele De Rossi was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Giorgio Chiellini with 15 minutes remaining. He barely had time to go down the tunnel when joined by Leandro Castan after a deliberate handball. “It’s difficult to end the game with nine men, that is true, but we did not lose because of that. When Daniele was sent off, it was already 2-0 for Juve,” Garcia conceded.

For the first time since arriving in the capital, Garcia tasted the bitterness of defeat. Under his leadership the Giallorossi enjoyed the best ever start to a Serie A season, and ahead of the second half of the campaign they sit second. He remains solidly behind the squad. “I am 100 per cent confident in my players. After a defeat we have to push forward and use the feelings of disappointment we have tonight in our future games.”

His task is to get the team back on their feet for the weekend visit of ninth-placed Genoa. Roma go into the game having won just twice in eight matches since that historic 10th win, against Chievo in late October.

There’s no reason to suggest Garcia cannot get the players up and functioning again. Think back to his arrival at Trigoria. He took over a despondent squad reeling from their Coppa Italia Final defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Lazio in May. For Federico Balzaretti, that moment was ‘rock bottom’. Garcia instilled belief.

The players responded immediately, starting with the opening day victory at Livorno. They’ve overcome difficult challenges since, like that of the Rome Derby, plus Inter, Napoli and Fiorentina. Roma may have fallen short at Juventus but it was their first setback. And they are not the only ones. Juve have taken 49 points from a possible 54. As director Walter Sabatini noted, they are more mature than the Giallorossi.

Garcia maintains their primary aspiration remains achievable. “There are another 60 points available, but the title is not our objective. Our objective is to get back into Europe, so we are now second and that is a good place to be in. After that, we’ll see what happens.”

Roma will learn from the Juventus Stadium setback. They can use the disappointment as added motivation. Like Garcia says, the capital club remain in a good position, but there is no time to sulk – Napoli are just two points behind. He’s lifted them before, so look for a Roman revival starting with the clash against the Grifoni.

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Have your say...

I concur.

Serie A is getting far too easy for us. At least La Liga has Barca AND Madrid. Serie A just has Juventus (dominated by a Turkish team) and a bunch of part time teams.

I would love to enter my weekend team into serie a. Im very confident we wouldnt get relegated.
on the 9th January, 2014 at 1:35pm
Maybe your Juve can play in the Turkish league.
on the 9th January, 2014 at 11:38am
Ref was a little too card happy? We're we watching the same game? Red for 2 footed challenge and red for denying a goal on the line with a hand. Total loss of control by Roma at a point where game was over anyway. Juve tactic worked great, deny Roma any chance to counterattack which is their strongest part of the game. Problem for Roma now is that a lot of teams will play same Juve tactic now. Anyway Roma have been good value for money to watch this year. They deserve champions league.
on the 9th January, 2014 at 9:21am
For those saying the league is too easy for Juve need to keep there feet on the ground, it was only over the last 2 seasons Conte has created a most magnificent Team, but give Napoli and Roma time under Benitez and Garcia and then we'll have a much harder league, also where's the Serie A spirit? I thought we all wanted Serie A to be top of the world again. Have patience and for now let's be Real Juve fans and stay humble and celebrate end of the season ! #ForzaJuve
on the 9th January, 2014 at 9:14am
Juventus need to be moved to a more competitive league. Serie A is just far too easy for us.
on the 8th January, 2014 at 8:01pm
NDP midfield -Naingollan-DeRossi-Pjanic's time for Strootman to take a seat on the bench. No Totti,No Party! 
on the 8th January, 2014 at 7:46pm
Get Roma a top center back and goal poacher and they'll be there.I still believe in Destro. Give him some time.
on the 8th January, 2014 at 7:12pm
Roma was missing something in the final third to get into the box and get chances at scoring, the ref was a little too card happy in my opinion, ruined an interesting match up.
on the 8th January, 2014 at 6:52pm
Roma is doing really well. Against Juve, they lost the mental battle and had no penetration. They are missing a prominent physical presence up-front. A clinical and strong finisher like Dzeko (one can dream); hopefully Destro can develop into someone like that. They also need to invest in the backline i.e. another quality CB and LB. Midfield is probably the strongest next to Juve's. Thing that bothers me most is that Juve have no real competition in the league!
on the 8th January, 2014 at 6:42pm
Roma have been excellent considering their last couple of campaigns but I still think they need to come to terms with the fact that its a long way before they reach the top. Its obvious that arrogance seems to have crept in and I believe Juve did them a favour by that whooping. Anyway I do hope they carry on like this and Napoli or Fiorentina get the other slots. Serie A is so much better now and pretty soon most players will be flocking in. Inter fans seem to have finally accepted their fate of being "a nobody" and hopefully Milan will be on the rise with the acquisition of Honda. And for now we should all enjoy Juve's domination and clean football
on the 8th January, 2014 at 4:32pm
Roma have still far exceeded there pre season expectations. A quality striker and maybe a new center back and they will be looking in great shape. It's a shame Napoli and Milan in particular haven't been able to keep pace with Juve as it looks set to be an easy league title for Juve. Hopefully they can win the Europa league, and then next season Milan/Roma/Napoli/Fiorentina/Inter can all strengthen and make the league more interesting
on the 8th January, 2014 at 1:47pm
Roma shouldn't get disheartened. The reality is that they got beaten by experience. Up until the poor marking on the 1st goal, Roma had all the possession and ball. The second goal was another poor marking job. What they did lack was penetration and threat in the box. As a team, they are arguably the most technically gifted in the division. They are a top striker and two centre backs short of being an outstanding outfit.
on the 8th January, 2014 at 12:19pm
After they won their first 10 I said on here that they had no hope of being champions with this squad.

Some fans said how wrong I was but it looks like they're finding their level now.

A top 3 place (they'll probably not finish ahead of Napoli either) would be a great result for this good but not great squad.

Nainggolan will help further and their midfield is now one of the best in Europe, let alone Serie A.

It's elsewhere they need to strenthen.
on the 8th January, 2014 at 11:37am

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