Rudi Garcia spoke of AS Roma’s Champions League hopes ahead of their clash with CSKA Moscow and it may make for interesting reading among City fans
AS Roma are ready to kick-off in the Champions League this season, following a three-year absence from the competition, and Manchester City fans should be more than a little concerned about their prospects for progression.
That was the message gleaned from a recent press conference with Giallorossi manager Rudi Garcia, which came as the capital club prepare to meet CSKA Moscow at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Russians shipped 17 goals over the course of six group fixtures last season and are widely expected to be the whipping boys of a pool containing Roma, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.
Garcia, however, is taking nothing for granted ahead of what is already shaping up to be a must-win encounter for the Serie A side.
"Last year we worked our socks off to get into the Champions League so now we need to make the most of it. We’re going to face three teams and CSKA are by no means the weakest in the group," he explained, in quotes from the official AS Roma website.
"I’m sure that we’ll put in a great performance and do everything possible to get the three points. We don’t need to put pressure on ourselves. There are no easy opponents in the Champions League."
However it was his comments on Roma’s tactical preparations, and the intimidating atmosphere that will greet teams visiting the Olimpico in Europe this season, that could leave City fans feeling more than a little apprehensive.
"We’re studying our opponents down to the very last detail. CSKA have their strengths, but they’ve also got their weaknesses. We’ll set ourselves up to cause them problems,” he said in a comment that could well leave Manuel Pellegrini facing a few sleepless nights.
"The fans don’t just help us to win; they can also intimidate the opposition. The rest of the stadium must follow the example of the Curva Sud – that’s where the most hardcore fans are!"
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have both previously got the better of Pellegrini in big game battles between City and both Bayern Munich and Chelsea last season and the Chilean will be wary of the threat posed by Roma and Garcia.
City may have won all three of their away games in the Champions League last term, but while CSKA should prove a straightforward task, given that the Sky Blues won 2-1 in Moscow last season, a trip to Rome could prove tricky.
The Citizens lost 2-1 to Napoli in their only previous visit to Italy in this competition and will head to the Olimpico on Matchday Six for what could be a winner-takes-all contest.
Will AS Roma qualify for the knock-out stages ahead of Manchester City?