Saturday May 30 2015
Garcia: 'Roma won our League'

Rudi Garcia said Roma “won our tournament” because Juventus are a class above, but was “astonished” by criticism.

The Giallorossi host Palermo on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.

“The highlight of the season was winning the Derby to give us direct access to the Champions League,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“What was the low point? I don’t know, I prefer to always keep good things in my mind.

“Looking over the season, I have to say we won our tournament, because Juve are basically in their own League.

“They are accustomed to winning, while their economic and sporting power is considerably more important than ours. They have their own stadium, won the Scudetto and are in the Champions League Final too.

“The Bianconeri are beyond reach, so we finished top of the table for the rest of Serie A and achieved our primary objective, which was to qualify for the Champions League.

“The gap will be even bigger next season, especially as we are restricted by Financial Fair Play rules.

“However, we won’t change our ambitions. I am here to win and I am ambitious. We never said our objective was anything other than to qualify for the Champions League.

“Papers made Roma into a candidate for the Scudetto, but the season showed the divide is too big for us. There’s no point taking fans for a ride.

“There is a big difference between objectives and ambitions. The President and I have great ambitions, but he too knows the beauty of this city, which was not built in a day.”

Roma were also second last term, but went out in the group stage of the UEFA competition.

“We learned from that experience in the Group of Death. Hopefully we’ll be third seeds and not fourth, as we ended up in an almost impossible group, yet until 30 minutes from the end we were almost qualified.”

Garcia defended his side’s season, which saw a massive dip in form and results after Christmas.

“A season is never a long and tranquil path. We had moments of difficulty, for example when there were fewer players at our disposal and many games to play.

“We overcame those, because when a team is second for 34 rounds it means the squad is fantastic.

“There will be a meeting with the President on Thursday in London and we’ll have clearer parameters for next season. Since I arrived the position has been clear, we need to sell in order to buy.

“I think we’re on the right track and this project is one of the best in world football. We must take it step by step, because one step too long can make us go back three. The lads showed character and pride.

“I was astonished that my team, which was second for practically the entire campaign, received so much criticism from the fans.

“Our supporters are intelligent and when it was important to have everyone behind us, we didn’t get that response. I think they were affected by excessive criticism in the media, which is not normal and I did not like.
“It’s not normal that we have better results on our travels than at home. It means in some moments it is tough to play at the Olimpico. We have the best fans in the world and we are stronger with them behind us.

“I don’t want to experience that again and this is why I want us to be clear. I am the most ambitious person here.”

The Lupi are guaranteed second place ahead of arch rivals Lazio, no matter the score this weekend.

“I was never afraid of losing second, because I live with my players and know this squad never lacked character in difficult moments. We are united and moments of difficulty make the difference.”

“We have a game tomorrow and want to win it. Even if we don’t have any more objectives, I want the players to be professional in the final round of the season, as our fans deserve to see us get three points.”