Fabio Capello has warned Roma Coach Rudi Garcia not to take CSKA Moscow lightly, as he considers the Giallorossi’s Champions League group.
The capital club make their return to the UEFA competition this evening at home to the Russians, but with the former Roma boss and current Russia national team Coach making clear it won’t be an onslaught at the visitors’ goal.
“It won’t be so - the first game of a group always has the psychological pressure and more so for the team playing at home,” Capello has told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Roma are strong and for this for me it is important to test the approach of the players in a potentially difficult game, particularly for those who for only a year or less have played in the Champions League.
“But if I was Garcia, I would not trust this CSKA very much.
“I say this all the more so after the transfer market - Eremenko and Natcho are two important reinforcements by themselves and then they complete this squad well.
“CSKA are an organised opponent, compact, but not so predictable to play against, because the two up front, Musa and Doumbia, they are unpredictable and above all have pace.”
Even so, Capello is also an admirer of Garcia.
“Roma have great quality and a Coach who has done a very good job, because without that you do not get close to the League title in your first year.
“And you know what I like about him? To hear him say, even after a win like that in Empoli, that certain things did not please him - it is a sign of determination.”
It was put to the Lupi’s former Coach that they have the hardest group stage this season, with Manchester City and Bayern Munich also to face.
“It is probably the hardest of them all. I saw Manchester City against Arsenal live last Saturday - a fantastic game for the extraordinary intensity of both teams, and those who think City are satisfied with having won the League…
“Aside from the attacking talent, when you have the likes of Yaya Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, you have people who are not prepared to lose, ever.
“Roma must take a route like that of Napoli last year, whilst perhaps this time 12 points will be enough. Bayern are my favourite to win the Champions League, along with Chelsea - they are a step above Real Madrid and Barcelona.”
Capello also considered Italy’s other representative in the competition this year and the group that faces them.
“Juventus have an easier group and more experience. And they are more competitive than last year because they have managed to keep their players in the market.”
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