Lost amidst the day's table watching, which unfortunately did not go Roma's way, were some telling words from Daniele De Rossi, who, in the wake of yesterday's match, touched upon everything from the club's successes this season, to Roma's closest competitors, and even offered a veiled criticism of Rudi Garcia's predecessors.
Since it's Sunday and we ain't got much more to do, let's dissect De Rossi's words.
Well, thanks to Carlos Tevez and the non-penalty call on the Andrea Pirlo-Omar El Kaddouri collision, we know how that went. As far as the rest of the Week 25 table watching is concerned, we'll have to wait until Monday when third place Napoli plays host to Genoa. However, now that Juventus has opened up a nine point gap, the best Roma can do is take care of the meal on their plate and hope for a bit of help, be it from their adversaries or the match officials.
You can tell it's a good season from lots of little things. In the summer with those who arrived, winning the derby in Week 4, the fundamental victory in Udine, the run of results after our defeat in Turin. It is already impressive that we are so close to a team that was constructed to destroy all competition in the League.
There isn't much to pull apart from this one, but Roma has managed some impressive victories and met some important benchmarks early in the season, thanks in large part to the quality of players Walter Sabatini purchased this summer. A quality measured not only in hard numbers, but in chemistry and camaraderie; there has been virtually no public grousing about playing time and, beyond a few frustrated glances, very little in terms of players complaining about their roles in the offense, shot attempts, and we didn't even hear Radja Nainggolan complain about the club's steadfast refusal to un-retire Michael Bradley's vaunted #4 jersey.
When we look back on this season, it may be, as we saw earlier today, very Juve-centric. While not many people expected Roma to be in the same neighborhood as Juventus, the fact of the matter is, they've kept up with the Old Lady for several months now.
Although it's not quoted here, De Rossi alluded to the new found fortitude of this year's squad. Whether that's due to solely to the new faces, new training methods, or simply his own resurrection, we can't say. He is absolutely correct, though. There is a new resolve around this team; where previous incarnations of this squad would have capitulated in the wake of a demoralizing 3-0 defeat at the hands of the very club they are chasing, Garcia's men press on, winning five of six matches since that dark day. The heat of that chase is what made today's Derby della Mole a worthwhile discussion in Roman circles, and might make May 11th the most monumental day of the season.
Finally, De Rossi offered his opinion on what makes Rudi Garcia special...he's not
The first word that comes to mind is ‘normal.' That might not seem like a compliment, but it is. He's not over the top, he doesn't have weird ideas in his head. That's a good thing, as he decided to build on a team that was already strong.
In the wake of the successive experimentations conducted by Luis Enrique and Zdenek Zeman, it's hard not to appreciate the normality Garcia has brought to Rome. Although it may feel like a lifetime since then, it was barely three years ago that we were delighted with visions of Bojan, Simon Kjaer and Jose Angel passing backwards to their heart's delight. The Enrique experience may have been brief, but it wasn't exactly piqued with practicality.
Enrique had a vision in his head of how football teams should operate, from which he seldom deviated, regardless of the charges at his disposal, the opposition on the pitch, or even the culture surrounding him. And while few would classify Luis Enrique as a megalomaniac, his ideas, at least for the time and place in which he arrived, were over the top and his adherence to them was, in the light of the day, weird. They didn't work in Roma, they didn't work in Serie A, and they damn sure didn't work for DDR.
As far as Zeman is concerned, well, we all know there isn't much normality in the way he approaches the game, exciting as it might be.
Perhaps Rudi Garcia's greatest gift to Roma is pragmatism. He realized Roma already had an abundance of talent; talent that simply needed to be augmented not overhauled. Talent that needed to be reassured not revolutionized.
Normality in Roma, what a concept.