With a record ten straight victories since the start of the season, Roma’s French manager Rudi Garcia has overcome initial scepticism about his appointment to win over fans and take the club to the top of Serie A.
A second-half goal from Marco Borriello was enough for AS Roma to secure victory against Chievo on Thursday and in the process write themselves into the record books.
The 1-0 win meant that the club from the capital became the first ever side to take three points in every one of their first ten games of the Serie A season.
It is a remarkable record and one made even more so by the fact that Roma have conceded just a single goal so far this season, in a 3-1 win at Parma, while scoring 24. They currently sit five points clear of their nearest rivals Napoli and Juventus at the top of Serie A.
The run has seen manager Rudi Garcia, who could hardly have dreamed of such a sensational start when he moved to Roma from Lille in the summer, win the adoration of the club’s often hard-to-please fans in just a few short months.
Equally, Garcia seems to have fallen in love with his new home.
"I have something to tell you: I am a Romanista,” he told Italian reporters after Roma’s win against hated local rivals Lazio in September, winning extra applause for making the statement in Italian.
A sceptical welcome
Yet such a mutual love-in seemed unlikely when the 49-year-old first made the trip across the Alps to take up the reins at Roma.
AS Roma's Francesco Totti
The club had just endured a difficult season, finishing outside the Champions League places in sixth and losing to Lazio in the final of the Coppa Italia.
Furthermore, some of Roma’s biggest stars had been sold in the summer transfer window, including the likes of Italian striker Pablo Osvaldo, the Argentinian Erik Lamela and the Brazilian Marquinhos.
For Garcia, the first Frenchman to ever manage a Serie A side, the task ahead must have looked daunting.
He also had to deal with the scepticism of the fans and pundits, who were largely unimpressed with Garcia’s appointment having called for a more experienced, big-name manager to solve Roma’s difficulties.
Many doubted if Garcia, largely unknown in Italy despite leading Lille to a Ligue 1 title, would be able to withstand the pressure in Serie A at a club that has gone through five coaches in just two years, let alone have the ability to restore them to title contenders.
‘We must remain humble’
But so far, at least, Roma’s gamble on the Frenchman seems to be paying off in spectacular fashion.
The team has been reinforced with several smart signings, not least that of the Ivorian Gervinho who, after a torrid two-year spell at Arsenal, looks like a new player after being reunited with his former Lille mentor.
And with the wise old heads of Daniele De Rossi and Francesco Totti adding steel and experience to the side, Garcia has a team that balances defensive solidity with attacking flair.
Although it is still early days, should the giallorossi continue this run of form Roma fans will soon be able to start dreaming of a first Serie A title since 2001, and the decision to appoint Garcia will look like one of football’s greatest masterstrokes.
Aware of the dangers of overconfidence and complacency, however, Garcia has been quick to play down expectations.
“Building up our hopes now could lead us to disappointment,” he told French sports daily "L’Equipe" after Roma’s 3-0 win over Internazionale in October. “For this reason, we must remain humble and we’ll see where we are at the end of the season.”
Date created : 2013-11-01