“Clearly this is two points dropped today,” Rudi Garcia declared after the 3-3 draw in Verona. “We were about to take a two-goal lead in at the break but we conceded a goal we really shouldn't have right at the end of the half. It would have made a difference if we'd finished the first 45 minutes with that two-goal advantage. After the break we conceded twice from set pieces but we knew we were missing important players in those situations.”
Among the positives to take from the match, Garcia singled out the display of Sadiq Umar. “I'm happy for him. He got his second goal in as many games and could have had another but hit the post."
How's the mood in the camp after this match?
“The players were angry at full time and so was I, but we need to take that anger and channel it onto the pitch when we play AC Milan on Saturday. If we don't want to lose ground on the teams in front we have to win on Saturday.”
Second place is that much further away after today's draw...
“Yes, but we have another game on Saturday and we have to focus on that now. We'll get some players back. There are two returning from suspension and hopefully we won't be without Mohamed Salah for too long. As long as the players are giving their all as they did today we can make up for our mistakes, especially if we have a tad more luck than we've been getting recently. We were unlucky on Chievo's third goal, for example.”
How much of a difference does it make with those players missing in games like this?
“We still managed to play well today despite all the absentees and we showed we could have won it. We knew we were short for this one with six midfielders unavailable but we were determined to win anyway and we very nearly pulled it off. The lads gave everything they had.”
There were some defensive mistakes out there today. Might this be the right time to rest certain players?
“Not at the moment. The lads are rested, they're fresh mentally and physically. Kostas Manolas was unlucky today. He's having a superb season. Sometimes you don't play as well as in other games but he didn't make any horrendous errors. We went into this match on the back of four clean sheets but having struggled to score goals. Today we got the goals but lost our balance. Having said that, it's easier to put right the sort of mistakes we made on set pieces for the second and third goals.”
Will Sadiq Umar start against AC Milan?
“We'll see. One thing's for sure though: We have fewer options without Salah. I hope Francesco Totti can start training with the squad again and make an appearance off the bench. The good thing is that Sadiq is showing the potential seen on the training ground in matches as well now. He plays with enthusiasm and confidence, shows good movement, battles for the ball and has fantastic skill too. He's improving all the time and we know he's another quality player we can count on and that's what we need right now.”