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Garcia remains upbeat as Roma do just enough to qualify

Rudi Garcia was a relieved manager after seeing Roma squeeze through to the knockout stages of the Champions League courtesy of a 0-0 draw against BATE.

The Serie A side drew a blank at home but the result was enough to see them qualify from Group E, as they joined runaway winners Barcelona in the next round.

Their progression would have been much easier had they taken any of the second-half chances they created, and in the end they were indebted to a wonderful save from Wojciech Szczesny for preserving their clean sheet.

Still, a sparse crowd inside the Stadio Olimpico let the home team know what they thought of their performance, jeering the Roma players off the field after the final whistle.

“Obviously we could’ve done better and Wojciech Szczesny produced a crucial save but ultimately we did qualify,” Garcia told Mediaset Premium.

“The fact we achieved this qualification at this moment with such a negative atmosphere sends an even stronger message.

“That means we did enough to get through ahead of the other teams and that is what really matters in the group stage.

“We could’ve done better, but a team with 24 shots is not playing badly. I don’t have to list the players we’ve got on the treatment table, but look at the bench and see we had no other options attacking.”

Roma’s attack was weakened by the loss of Gervinho in the warm-up, while Mohamed Salah was only fit enough to be a substitute after recovering from an ankle problem.

Garcia revealed he could not even replace injured forward Edin Dzeko in the second half due to a lack of options on the bench.

“Edin Dzeko had cramp and I couldn’t change him. We kept going, we heard Leverkusen were not winning, so we have achieved the first target of the season,” he added.

“We are very happy, especially as we’ll have more strength in depth in February and above all be in a different period of form.”

Wed 9 Dec, 2015
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