Saturday April 19 2014
Garcia: 'Extraordinary season'

Rudi Garcia was impressed with Fiorentina, tipped Mattia Destro for the World Cup and dedicated Roma’s Champions League spot to Kevin Strootman.

Tonight’s 1-0 victory at the Stadio Franchi mathematically secured a top two finish and with it automatic qualification for the Champions League group phase.

“When I see my team work every day, knowing their quality in every area, I am truly happy for this achievement as they deserve it. Now we know that at the very least we are second and can still dream of first,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“It was tough here, as we know Fiorentina are a great side and especially strong on home turf. A few minutes before going out on to the field we heard that Juventus had won, so it was even more important to win.

“The attitude of the team is key, as we defend with 11 men and attack with 11 men. Fiorentina had lots of long-range shots, but their only real chance was on a free kick that shouldn’t have been given anyway, as Stefan Savic came very close to equalising.

“We had decided to go rapidly on the counter-attack, but credit to Fiorentina they stopped us doing that in the second half.

“Now there are four games to go, we are sure of a place in the Champions League. We will prepare for the game with Milan at a packed Stadio Olimpico and are still hungry for success.

“It has been an extraordinary season, but we can still make it an exceptional one. Anything that comes now is a bonus.

“We will enjoy this victory tonight, we have 82 points and both the team and Coach want more. That’s all that counts tonight.”

They achieved it without Destro, who is sitting out a three-match ban using video evidence. It could also cost him in terms of the World Cup, but Garcia is confident he’ll get called by Italy.

“He has the best goals to games ratio in Serie A, as he only played half the season. We didn’t expect this ban, but he is on a training schedule to be ready for Juventus. There are still two games to play before Mattia returns and we saw again tonight that even without important players we are still achieving great results.

“I particularly want to dedicate this qualification to Kevin Strootman, as I am truly happy he’ll be able to play in the Champions League with us next season.

“Naturally the credit goes to the club and not just players or Coach. Every person who worked for Roma this season and put the players in the condition to give their best deserves credit. Seeing the joy in the locker room after this game made me truly happy.

“Knowing they are already concentrated on the next game too is what I love about this group. My future? I’ve already said that I am happy at Roma and this is not the time to talk about individual cases, including my own, as we haven’t ended the season yet.”

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