Garcia holds a press conference in Austria

Rudi Garcia held a press conference today in Austria, here are his words:

How is the team currently?
“One of the first things a coach has to be good at is adapting to the situations he’s faced with and we’ve done that in this pre-season. I must say the players have trained really well in the first month as we work towards our first league match. While we can’t say everything is perfect, we can certainly say that nothing is bad.”

How do you describe your playing style? It’s very “European”?
“Roma play a European style of football? What does that mean? You get teams who play good attacking football and score goals in Italy as well, although often you might find the other side sits back and waits. Personally I think it’s important to have your own footballing identity, but the best teams know how to adapt and play lots of different ways. The team that wins is always right, but then again you can win or lose a game in 15 seconds and you should always look at the whole match and not just parts of it. That’s the way I see things. It’s right that we should all be focusing on the present but we mustn’t forget what we did last year either.”

The situation of Mehdi Benatia…
“It does make me laugh. Yesterday I read that Medhi was 99% sure to sign for another club, today it’s 99% sure he’ll stay at Roma. So yesterday I started looking for a replacement and today I stopped again…I’ve said the same thing all along: I want him to remain at Roma. The player will speak when the time is right. At the moment there’s enough being said about him already as the journalists are writing the news themselves. I find it all makes for amusing reading.”

Are you ready for the start of the championship?
“It’s hard to say whether we’re ready for the start of the season. One good thing is that we’ve kept the same roster as last year and that’s saved us some time, though we still need to ease the new guys in. Our aim was to get ourselves ready from a physical standpoint, to focus only on how our players are doing without worrying about the results of our friendlies. We need to get our fitness sorted but in a World Cup year clearly not everyone is going to be in the same condition. In any case, it’s not something that concerns me.”

How has Iturbe been?
“Manuel needs to be given a bit of time. What’s pleasing to see is that he’s improving by the day physically and he’s extremely receptive: he’s listening and trying to take it all in, and put the things I ask of him into practice on the field. You have to let him unleash his creativity a bit too, you can’t just peg him down tactically. You need to find the right balance between the advice I’m giving him and his natural instinct on the pitch.”

And how is Destro?
“Mattia had a good season last year like the rest of the team and it was important to have him with us from the start. When a player misses pre-season he finds it hard to reach his peak. Destro is doing well and it’s always a good sign when the team manages to get balls up to the forwards. Strikers have their ups and downs: sometimes the ball hits the post and goes out, other times it goes in. I’d rather see him score goals in the games that matter.”

What qualities do you want to see in your players?
“I want to see my players fiercely determined. When it comes to our first Serie A game we’ll fight for every inch – that’s the only way you can perform at your best. If we went out there just thinking that we have to win it would be a recipe for failure.”

Can the team grow any more than it already has?
“We’ll be stronger after this training camp: the players know each other better and we’re improving every day. We’ve grown as a group because there are quality players here who are helping the new guys settle in. For example we have Ashley who is English and Salih who is Turkish but they’re both determined to learn Italian. The desire they have to speak with their team-mates is very important.”

Do Roma play differently with and without Totti?
“It’s not that you have one team for one game and a different team for another. All I can say is that you see certain things developing between players before a match and a coach has to take those into consideration. We all know that Francesco is capable of coming up with a moment of magic at any time and the main thing is keeping him fit. He’s been doing all the things he did last year to make sure he’s in form physically, and when a player like him is on form he can do anything on the pitch, as we saw in the last game. He’s easy to manage and he’s lost none of his enthusiasm for the game despite his age. My job is just to keep him at his best.”

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.