Garcia’s Pre-Napoli Press Conference

Rudi Garcia held a press conference today, a day before the first semi-final leg in the Coppa Italia against Napoli.

Not playing last weekend is an advantage for you?
“Maybe. They (Napoli) played and they lost and that could affect them psychologically. Physically we’ll be in good shape but some players might have lost their rhythm after not playing for 10 days.”

Do you fear Napoli?
“I don’t fear anything about Napoli but I respect everyone, especially Napoli because they have a good team. It’s a two-legged semi-final, 180 minutes or maybe more. Tomorrow we want to put one foot in the final”

Is Benitez to blame for their defense?
“I do not think so, you have to attack and score goals, but you must have good balance, it’s certainly true that when you defend well it is easier to win games. They’re a strong team, not only offensively. Tomorrow we must make sure we do not concede a goal, because in case of a tie in the two games it can be important not to concede a goal at home.”

What do you think of Reja’s words?
“We will have time to talk about this later because our league match is on Sunday, today we’re only talking about the Coppa Italia.”

You will rotate the squad?
“Will I rotate? I don’t like making too many calculations. The guys know that all four games we have coming up are important.”

Is Nainggolan the perfect midfielder for you?
“No one is perfect, not even De Rossi, Strootman, Pjanic or Taddei, but he is very strong. He can help the team on the defensive and offensive side of the pitch, he can improve his decisiveness, but he has a strong leg and he can score goals from range, he could also get more interceptions, but with the power in his legs he can do everything. He’s a good buy not only in sports but also as a human. It‘s amazing to see him play with us.”

The second position seems secure, so the Coppa Italia is very important?
“Today, yes, but Thursday we’ll think about the championship. We want to play everything at 100%. We must be careful reading the standings, because when we have a game in hand we always have 3 more points, but that’s not it, we have to play for them. But think of Naples, which is a good stadium, the Olimpico will be a great environment for the match. At the tactical level, there is this idea that you do not play 90 minutes, you play two legs, so each goal is important and every detail is more important than usual.”

You don’t trust the subs, could this be why you won’t rotate the squad?

“What matters is the time of the season in which you’re playing. After the break, we played a league match and the Coppa Italia was three days later, so it was important not to play three games in a row with the same players. Today is different. I think Napoli will play tomorrow with their best players. The ambition must be to get to the final, we’ll play at 100%.”

Do you think that rescheduling Roma against Parma could affect the league?

“How? We did not play and we were not given any points. That’s the schedule, we have to evaluate everything, because at the Stadio Olimpico European competitions are also played, we will play when the Lega tells us to play. That’s why I told you to be careful when we look at the schedule. We still have six points over Napoli and nine over Fiorentina, but we have to play against Parma and then see where we are.”

Can Bastos play?
“He is ready to play. We have four matches and it is certain that there will be time for everyone, because it will be important to play with players who are at 100%. For the first game we must not make any calculations, we will see after Thursday what has happened and how to prepare for the derby.”

How will you manage Totti?

“Francesco is just like every other guy. It’s better to play him when he is 100%, but it depends on many things like the opponent and the tactics for the match. We need him, we can’t risk losing him. It’s not just him, though, sometimes there are players who can play every three days, but for others, the coach must be very cautious.”

Will you win the game in midfield?

“What is important is to have a midfield with physical and technical qualities. For us, whoever plays has these features. It won’t be enough to only play well in midfield, we must be strong in defense and in attack, as well.”

The Editor of, John has been covering Italian football as a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has appeared in various publications including,, and ESPN.