Garcia’s pre-Lazio press conference

Roma manager Rudi Garcia speaks ahead of tomorrow’s Derby against Lazio, here are his words:

A comment on the tragedy in Paris?
I’m French and we’re in mourning. I wanted to give all you journalists a pencil to show solidarity towards my homeland, we all need to be united at this moment in time. What happened is an attack on freedom, but freedom needs to remain just that, always. We’re all Charlie.

There was much talk about the goal in Udine…
There are more serious things to worry about at the moment. I don’t want to waste my time with childish things like that. I want to talk about football matters. As I’ve said, I don’t want to discuss this controversy. As for whether I’ve become more Italian in my approach, all I can say is I simply feel very French.

And now the Derby…
It’s always special when two teams from the same city or region meet. I want to tell you that we’ll do everything we can and more to win this match. We want to be top of the league. We’ll see if it’s only for a few hours ahead of Juventus’ game or whether we’re there for a week. We want to be first and beat Lazio. The fact we come into this match one point off the top shows we’ve picked up a lot of points thus far and we deserve to be up there. We’ve done it both at home and away. I have complete faith in my players, regardless of who we come up against. We need to change this approach of seeing the derby as a target for the season and focusing on it. The derby is two matches and six points, nothing more than that. We need to think of the bigger picture and aim as high as possible. And to do so we need to win as many games as possible. Starting tomorrow.

Lazio are also having a good season like your Roma…
Both Roma and Lazio are different teams compared with the ones that met last year, given that at that time we went into the derby on the back of the Coppa Italia final defeat. Things are now completely different both for them and us. We’ll experience an exciting day’s football with the top four playing each other. I hope there are many more of these matches. Lazio are an aggressive team with excellent players, they’re the side that have made more fouls than anyone else in Serie A, but we need to try and take the game to them. Yes, they have more points than they did last season but we’re also where we want to be. As I’ve said, we need to make the most of the chance to be top come full time. There are two ways of stopping Lazio from a tactical perspective, one involves being more defensive, the other is more offensive. I prefer the latter because by attacking you have more chance of getting a result.”

Who will go from the beginning? Is Ljajic ready?
We simply need 11 players at 100% but the three that come on also need to be on top form. I never think of individual players that can win you a match, I view the team as a unit.

How do you feel coming into the match?
We come into this match in good shape, second in the league, one point off the pace and with the chance to go top. The lads looked really up for it in training, they’re keen to put in a good performance. I noticed there was a lot intensity in training this week and I had to just take the sting out of things a touch. Maicon’s healthy, he’s got 90 minutes in. The captain can play a full game too. If we need him, we can rely on him for the full 90 if need be. Ljajic is fit. Short of any injuries between now and tomorrow, I’ll have the whole roster to pick from.

A prediction on the Ballon d’Or?
I think Neuer will win it. He’s the best goalkeeper around and I hope it’s him as it’s tough for a defensive player to win it.

Can you address the rumors surrounding Destro?
I can confirm that Mattia won’t be leaving in January.

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.