Tuesday January 21 2014
Garcia: 'Roma's tactical victory'

Rudi Garcia felt Roma “wanted it more” and “it was a tactical victory” to knock Juventus out of the Coppa Italia.

Gervinho scored the late goal to decide the quarter-final at the Stadio Olimpico.

“I think Roma wanted it more. We played against a very strong side and we saw tonight they have two first choice line-ups, so you can’t tell when they are rotating,” the Coach told Rai Sport.

“We played well tonight, kept possession in the first half and it was also a tactical victory, as we decided to wait a little more after the break to open up spaces. That’s how we got the goal.”

Miralem Pjanic was a substitute who created the move for the winning goal.

“His pass was excellent for Kevin Strootman and above all Gervinho’s run to the near post. I had many options on the bench tonight and we expected the teams to battle for an hour.

“We had prepared for Miralem to be decisive when he came off the bench. I wanted a team that worked hard and covered the midfield, which did work in the first half. I can say Miralem is an essential player for us and will be next year too.”

Roma will face either Napoli or Lazio in the semi-final, which is decided over two legs, but Garcia shrugged off a suggestion the Giallorossi were now favourites for the trophy.

“No, I don’t think we are the favourites. There are still great teams in the competition and the two semi-finals will be at a very high level. We should enjoy this victory and from tomorrow be concentrated on Verona, where we’ll play with great ambition.

“Napoli or Lazio makes no difference to us.”

The 1-0 victory over Juventus arrived just two weeks after Roma were crushed 3-0 at the Juventus Stadium in Serie A.

“Tonight was the Coppa Italia, but it was also the Serie A leaders against second, so it counted for the environment. We saw a Roma side with character who took the initiative in Turin, but this time we created spaces and were able to strike at the right moment.

“At times a team has a strategy, but that cannot be put into action and they are obligated to work on the counter-attack. I think tactically Roma worked very well this evening.

“This was a game our fans, and perhaps all of Italy, were waiting for. We saw the Olimpico full and that’s what football is all about, seeing the supporters give their all to cheer us on. I am proud of the Roma fans tonight.

“We are competitive, but also know Juve are a great side who won two consecutive Scudetti. We did not expect Juve to have 55 points after 20 games, as 47 is an exceptional tally already. Tonight we saw we have the abilities and the talent to beat a side that is one of the biggest clubs in Italy.

“How strong are Roma? We’ll see at the end of the season, but we have to keep pushing and see where we end up. I am truly satisfied.”

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