Roma manager Rudi Garcia has insisted his team will put all thoughts of their championship campaign aside and concentrate fully on booking a place in this year’s Coppa Italia semi-finals when they take on Juventus tomorrow night in the capital.
The Frenchman, who has made a magnificent start to life in the Giallrossi hotseat since moving from Lille in the summer, believes a first-rate showing is required if his men are to stand any chance of toppling Antonio Conte’s buoyant Bianconeri.
Speaking to reporters in the capital, the 49-year-old began: “It’s a one-off encounter and we have one sole aim: reaching the semi-final. If we want to get there, we’ll need to put in a great performance.”
Having experienced the impact of the Juventus Stadium crowd at first hand during his team’s 3-0 defeat in Turin a fortnight ago, Garcia has backed his own supporters to create a similar atmosphere on Tuesday evening.
“We’ll be in front of a full house at the Olimpico and it will be a terrific atmosphere, comparable to the one we faced at Juventus Stadium, where it’s easy to play with the support of the crowd. The fans will be fired up and will get behind the team.”
When asked if Roma will be suffering a hangover from their heavy reverse at the hands of the reigning champions, Garcia claimed that the two back-to-back wins registered against Sampdoria and Livorno have served as the perfect remedy to steady the ship.
“We responded well to our defeat in Turin. It was important to win and we did just that against Sampdoria. The fixture list throws up bizarre occurrences and sees us back up against Juventus straightaway. I’ve got no doubts over my team, they give their all in every game.”
The experienced tactician concluded by answering a question on how his side plan on dealing with the danger posed by Andrea Pirlo, who is widely tipped to return to the Bianconeri starting line-up after sitting out Saturday’s win over Sampdoria.
Instead of focusing all their attentions on preventing the midfield wizard from pulling the strings in the center of the park, Garcia claims his men must be alert to the threat that Juventus can produce from any given situation.
“We can’t just think about handling Pirlo, the danger can arrive from across the park. But it’s the same for Juventus, we’ve had many players on the scoresheet this season.
“Pirlo is a world-class player and if he has a quiet day then all the better for us. But we need to stick to our game plan and be clinical and efficient. I hope we’ve saved a few goals for this one.”