Thursday April 3 2014
Going Garcia for Roma

Scudetto or no Scudetto, Roma would not be where they are this season without Rudi Garcia. Jeremy Lim credits the Frenchman for the turnaround in the capital.

A party atmosphere took centre stage yesterday evening at the Stadio Olimpico as Roma dispatched Parma 4-2 to go within eight points of wresting the Scudetto from Juventus. Yet if we were going by the history books, Roma shouldn’t even be this far into the title challenge.

Rather than letting the Giallorossi’s reputation as bottlers threaten to overwhelm the present however, Rudi Garcia is having his men up the intensity level in a sustained push for the top. There is a noble merit in the way capital outfit plugs on despite the odds, as the Frenchman leads them on an incredible journey that initially started out as a modest objective to return to Europe.

How they swatted plucky Parma aside signalled their desire to heed Garcia’s call before Wednesday’s rescheduled encounter - secure 21 points from the remaining eight fixtures for a shot at the title. To manage such would be a monumental task certainly. And even then, the cruel eventuality lingers that achieving such a feat may still not be enough to dislodge the conquering Bianconeri from their throne.

But to focus on that is to miss the point. Indeed, Roma have recognised the transformation from the comic collapses of previous seasons into a competitive unit for what it is, and grasped that with Garcia lies the basis of their future. It is with good reason then that the 50-year-old has been identified as a jewel of the outfit alongside Miralem Pjanic and Mehdi Benatia, with a contract extension believed to be in the works - the club’s upward surge depends on it.

His imprint had already been vital from day one. An effective leader, the Coach immediately proved up to the unique challenges of helming the Olimpico side. Unlike predecessors of the American era such as Luis Enrique, Garcia has neither appeared overawed by the task of shepherding a dressing room of egos and personalities, nor navigating the pressures exerted by club and fans alike.

It’s small wonder the players trust their boss unreservedly. “He can be a turning point in the history of Roma. I’m not exaggerating, he can help us to win,” vice-captain Daniele De Rossi insists. Rodrigo Taddei, hero against Parma, can join a long line of those rejuvenated under Garcia’s guidance - a line consisting of Mattia Destro, Gervinho and Douglas Maicon, to start with a few.

Imparting fresh belief at Trigoria, Garcia immediately rendered the team unrecognisable compared to the spineless one that ceded last May’s Coppa Italia Final to arch-rivals Lazio. The upturn in character has been swift and evident. Beset by injuries to Francesco Totti and now Kevin Strootman, outplayed and comprehensively defeated on occasions by Juventus and Napoli this term, opportunities have abounded for Roma to produce her customary moments of implosion.

In stark contrast, the squad has showcased remarkable consistency, cementing their credentials as worthy title contenders and racking up their all-time record points haul at this stage in the process. Garcia’s demanding presence has spurred a massive turnaround from his charges - that drive for perfection the hallmark of a coaching great.

On Wednesday, Roma conceded an inconsequential Jonathan Biabiany blockbuster with the result sewn up, still provoking the trainer’s wrath after: “Let’s start from the negatives - we shouldn’t have conceded their second goal. It made me angry.” There isn’t much else ‘Porompompero’ can be angry with over Roma’s season, however. Even if the season does not finish in silverware, foundations have been laid for many other milestone years in the future. The Giallorossi under Garcia are truly on the up.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
with all do respect for Rudi Garcia, Sabbatini is for me the reason why Roma does so good this year.
He really has an eye for talent and bargains.
on the 6th April, 2014 at 3:30pm
Call me negative or a hater but I don't see Roma keeping this level up, i hope for serie a's sake that they do but i don't see it, let us not forget they are 8 points off the top spot and just 6 ahead of third with just one competition all year and from their main squad they have totti,maicon and de rossi getting up in age.What they've done this year is incredible non the less.
on the 4th April, 2014 at 1:38pm
Roma has done really well because Garcia is a champion. But the hypocrisy in Serie A really buffles me sometimes. Look what Conte and Juve did in their first season. All that people could say was that they were not in Europe, they play only one match every week and Muntari's ghost goal. Roma and Inter should have been on top now or? Give credit where it's due and it be given to Conte for raising the bar a little more. Wouldn't take anything away from Roma though. The way most see Juve is not gud
on the 4th April, 2014 at 11:32am
@ Dino Al Crespo is linked with a coaching job at Milan.....
on the 4th April, 2014 at 9:06am
@ Maldinis Heir
Crespo is a Inter fan, what else can you expect from an Inter fan..
All jokes a side, Balo is a great player, but consistently under achieves. Those of us who have followed him from his younger days know what he is capable of but only he knows why he doesn't deliver with consistency.
Rudi Garcia: Next season certainly deserves to be coach of the year. He has done great & will do even better next season with more additions. I wish Roma all the best in the remainder of the season
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 10:56pm
@ Adam It was a joke! Crespo just insulted Balo for no apparent reason. “Balotelli is missing some ingredients, I would define it as wasted talent because his talent is enormous. He is maybe missing something in his head a little bit." Why say this? Why now? Why is Balo in the news again?
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 4:32pm
Roma have had a good season...I think next season will be different though as they will have champions league games to play as well as Serie a and for the aging players it will be to much for them to compete on both fronts. Should applaud Romas efforts this season however I wont lie I would love it if they won nothing. Forza Lazio
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 3:25pm
challenge Juve (and Milan???) next year lol that's a good one Palermo have more chance of winning the scudetto than Milan
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 3:19pm
Before this season there are commentators who would've said that Roma were mad to sign Gervinho, that Maicon was finished and that Totti really should retire. De Rossi would've been linked to every other club. It shows what a manager can do. Roma finished 7th last season. This season they could finish with enough points that should've won the Scudetto. It'll take a record breaking season from Juve to deny them. Well done Roma. I hope they build on this and challenge Juve (and Milan???) next year
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 1:09pm
For me Garcia has to be manager of the year. While Conte has once again done incredibly and might break records, the turnaround at Roma is phenomenal. I have no doubt that if Allegri had gone to Roma last summer and Garcia had to gone to Milan, Milan would've been second this season. We wouldn't have been talking about the players and changing the entire squad. He would've spent 13m on Benatia instead of 11m on Matri and we'd be a completely different side.
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 1:03pm
Garcia is doing an amazing job. As a huge roma fan this season has been so fantastic. There has been an air of calm which has been lacking for years. Even if as expected Juve win the scudetto the future is looking very bright for us. If we can tie Garcia and our current players down and further invest in the squad using the champ league money then next season can be even better. Forza Roma. Good luck to Juve, any true fan of italian football will be cheering you on tonight.
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 12:58pm
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 12:47pm
Hats off to Roma, they are having a great season. Totti is playing much younger than his age, and guys like Gervinho and Pjanic have stepped up and delivered. The offense have the traits of Zeman, but with a much, much improved defense. Still though, the Scudetto is Juve's to lose.
on the 3rd April, 2014 at 12:15pm

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