ROME (Reuters) – AS Roma have a team of champions but they have lost faith in themselves, coach Rudi Garcia said on Sunday.
Juventus stretched their lead over second-placed Roma in Serie A to 10 points thanks to Andrea Pirlo’s spectacular goal against Atlanta on Friday.
“Pirlo is a champion,” Garcia told a news conference on Saturday before his team play Verona on Sunday.
“Juve are a team of champions. I also have many champions but they have lost faith in themselves. When they felt good about themselves, they were also able to score crucial goals.”
Garcia had guaranteed that his team would claim the championship after losing to Juventus in early October and continued to believe it for the next few weeks months.
But after drawing six of their last eight games they cannot afford another slip at Verona.
“Right now we should just shut up and try to win a few games in a row,” Garcia said.
Garcia repeatedly referred to the fact that his players have lost the ability to remain calm under pressure and winning at home has become especially difficult with five successive draws at the Olympic Stadium with the fans turning on their team.
“The team plays better if they feel that the environment surrounding them has belief. They feel stronger and have more courage,” Garcia said.
Garcia stayed calm when asked if his players had lost faith in him but his reply lacked confidence.
“You should ask the players,” he said. “I haven’t noticed a change in them but why don’t you go ahead and ask them?”