Garcia intent on repeating his Lille success at Roma

When Torino drew 1-1 at home to Roma on Sunday evening, it ended a 10 match winning sequence for their opponents from the start of the Italian football league season. No team has ever achieved this feat in Serie A but for team which finished sixth and seventh in previous seasons, there must be a reason as to why Roma have suddenly produced this fine run of form.

Rudi Garcia
Rudi Garcia

The fact that the Romans have no European distractions this term is a helpful advantage for concentrating on a league campaign but the summer appointment of Rudi Garcia as manager is perhaps one of the shrewdest items of recent business among all the leading Serie A clubs.

Frenchman Garcia had never played or managed outside his native country until Roma approached him to be their new boss. It was considered a risk by sceptical supporters but the move has so far reaped rich dividends as they lead the table by the three points.

Yet a glance at the previous managerial record Garcia will reveal that the 49 year old is no stranger to success. After a brief tenure at St Etienne, he transformed the fortunes of both Dijon and Lens before Lille secured his services in 2008.

During his five year reign at Lille, the French league and cup double was achieved in 2011 with a team including Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and Gervinho. Unfortunately, the European talent spotters had noticed this excellent Lille team and several players were lured to Premier League teams where better salaries were being offered.

Lille finished third in the following season and slipped further to sixth place thereafter with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) showing signs of dominating Ligue 1 for several more seasons.

The Roma offer and a new challenge probably arose at an opportune moment for Garcia as Lille are unable to compete with the financial muscle of PSG and seem destined to compete for just a domestic top three position.

Following his Roma appointment, Garcia wasted no time in securing the services of ex-PSV Eindhoven midfield player and Dutch international Kevin Strootman who has already proved an influential member of the team. Mehdi Benatia was also signed to strengthen a defence which has only conceded 2 goals in 11 Seria A matches.

Additionally, the French born manager has recruited his former Lille attacker Gervinho for whom he paid Arsenal 8 million euros, and the Ivory Coast forward has claimed three goals in eight appearances as he adapts to Italian football.

It may still be early days in the Serie A season but with Juventus, Napoli and the Milan teams currently sidetracked by their European ventures, do not be surprised if Roma are serious title contenders in May under the astute guidance of Rudi Garcia.

John Welsh

John Welsh

A freelance sports writer specialising in football, horse racing, cycling, athletics and betting. Also, the author of book [sc:bookbiolink], a novel covering the exploitation of young African footballers and their experiences in Europe.
[email protected]
John Welsh

John Welsh

A freelance sports writer specialising in football, horse racing, cycling, athletics and betting. Also, the author of book [sc:bookbiolink], a novel covering the exploitation of young African footballers and their experiences in Europe. [email protected]

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