Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Rudi Garcia emphasised that Roma need to play at a high intensity if they are to win on Wednesday and secure their passage through to the Champions League knock-out stages. “The BATE match is like a derby – it’s a match we have to win,” began Garcia. “We need to have the right attitude and that means fighting from the first minute and showing that we are desperate to get through to the next round. It’s been one of our goals since the start of the season.”
Have you been working more on the mental side of things or on tactics?
“There’s not much to think about when it comes to this match. We need to produce the right performance against BATE and make sure we win. We have to show that the 11 wolves who start the match – as well as the three that come on as substitutes, the rest of the lads on the bench and all of the coaching staff – are capable of hitting our first target this season and that’s qualification for the Champions League knock-out stages.”
Will there be any changes to the line-up? Might Leandro Castan come in for Antonio Rüdiger?
“There may be some changes. We have a number of injuries so that means my options are limited, but there are options there nonetheless. Tomorrow’s match will be won through desire and we have heaps of that. As I’ve said, we need all 18 players in the squad to give everything for the win. Our only objective is to win.”
If Roma fail to qualify, will it be a personal failure for you too?
“I’m just thinking about winning and tomorrow we will win – there’s nothing else we can say or do. We cannot – and we do not want to – rely on a draw between Bayer Leverkusen and Barcelona, that’s not the right attitude. The proper way to approach the match is to fight and to prove on the pitch that we have a real burning desire to get through. These kinds of important qualification matches don’t happen often at this club and we want more of them in the future. We want to be in Nyon for the draw.”
Is this going to be the toughest week in your Roma tenure?
“We’re all united and we have to fight together to achieve our objectives and get results. The team is up for it and the club has shown unity at a time when we’re not getting the rub of the green. You see the quality of a group from how it emerges from these spells. It’s up to us to push hard to beat BATE, but as ever it will go down to how we perform on the pitch.”
Does James Pallotta’s presence in Rome give you an extra impulse?
“Yes, we’re stronger with the president here and we will be stronger with the fans in the stands tomorrow. We will all be pushing in the same direction at the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow night. From our side, the players need to show their hunger on the pitch.”
What has happened since the international break? Is the team playing with fear?
“A team playing with fear wouldn’t have gone to Torino and pressed them high up the pitch for basically the whole match. We were doing excellently before the international break – we were scoring lots of goals, we’d won the derby and everything was going well. But now after four matches, from the outside it seems like we’ve all become rubbish. My job is to maintain the balance so we’re not sky-high one day and down in the doldrums the next. We’re focusing on BATE right now and we want to win. There’s a lot of the season still to play – we’re not even at the half-way stage in Serie A so we still have many matches to come.”
Do you think the side has made the most of Edin Džeko’s strengths?
“We signed Džeko because he’s a great player. I think the team could supply him with more chances to score, especially at the moment. I have complete confidence in the team – we have scored a lot of goals already and we are the leading scorers in Serie A. We need to keep playing good football and supplying Edin and his fellow strikers with chances to score. The worrying thing is when a team doesn’t create goalscoring chances, but that’s not the case with us.”
Is Mohamed Salah ready for the BATE match?
“Mohamed is fine. He doesn’t have 95 minutes in him, but he’s ready.”