Soccer: Garcia says early to judge pacesetters Roma
Napoli held at home to Sassuolo, champions Juve win beat Chievo26 September, 16:51
Roma are two points clear at the top of Serie A after they continued their perfect start to the season with a 2-0 win at Sampdoria on Wednesday.
Second-half goals by Mehdi Benatia and Gervinho enabled Roma to notch their fifth consecutive win, giving them 15 points, while Napoli slipped to second with 13 points after being held 1-1 at home by promoted Sassuolo. The last time Roma were alone at the top of Serie A was in 2010, when they ended up narrowly losing the title to Inter Milan after losing one of their last matches of the campaign to Sampdoria.
The French coach, who took over in the closed season, has transformed a talented side demoralised by several seasons of disappointment and looks to have turned them into genuine contenders for the championship.
They have not faced any of their likely scudetto rivals yet, but they did beat Lazio Sunday in a highly charged derby to avenge last season's defeat to the city rivals in the Italian Cup final.
Garcia said he was particularly pleased with the fact that three of the five wins were secured away from home.
But he is also keen to stress that they have not won any trophies yet.
"I'm happy about the five consecutive victories, but what I'm interested in is making history at the end of the season, not now," Garcia said when asked about his record-breaking start.
"It's too early to draw conclusions, but I'm happy for the team," added Garcia, who was expelled from the dugout against Sampdoria for dissent against match officials.
"I have a fantastic squad and this is important for the future". Garcia's predecessors in recent years all took an approach that was lopsided in attack, which led to erratic form.
The new-look Roma still have an offensive bent, but the Frenchman has also managed to give the team solidity and firmness in defence.
Indeed, Roma have conceded just one goal so far this term but they have scored 12. They can afford to be patient, given the strong defence and their ability to strike at the right time with rapid, fluid attacks. So it is probably not just a coincidence that all 12 of those goals came after the break.
Garcia has also won plaudits for the way he is managing his men, making the whole squad feel involved, not just the regular starters.
This could be seen in the way all the players celebrated the Sampdoria win in front of the travelling fans, including those who had been on the bench.
In part this is because Garcia seems to reward merit and is not afraid to rotate his squad and rest his best players, including Francesco Totti, although the talismanic captain did come on in the second half against Sampdoria when the score was 0-0 to help turn the match.
Garcia, who has Spanish roots, joined Roma after five years in charge of Lille, whom he led to the French league-Cup double in 2011.