Roma coach Rudi Garcia admitted his worry after seeing his “poor” and “unrecognisable” side hand title rivals Juventus a massive scudetto boost after being held to their eighth draw in nine consecutive Italian Serie A games.
“It was an ugly draw, not at all like all the other draws that have come before,”
Garcia told Sky Sport after Sunday’s scoreless draw at Chievo, who sit six points ahead of the drop zone. The result left Roma in second place, eight points adrift of Juve with Napoli only five points adrift ahead of their home clash against Inter Milan later in the day.
Juventus, the three-time consecutive champions, will take their lead to 11 points if they account for Sassuolo in Turin on Monday. Chievo coach Rolando Maran admitted the draw had allowed his side to “take another step towards” top flight survival.
Garcia, meanwhile, admitted for the first time during his side’s remarkable run of draws he was worried with his players’ performance.
“In the first half we were poor, we could have played for three or four hours without scoring a goal,” added Garcia.
“Sometimes you suffer defeats that leave you disappointed, but this draw was worrying. The extent to which we were negative stunned me.”
Roma have been without a number of key regulars in recent weeks with Dutch international Kevin Strootman ruled out injured for the rest of the season. Greek defender Jose Holebas, defensiver midfielder Daniele De Rossi and creative midfielder Miralem Pjanic were only fit enough for a place on the bench while recently-signed Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia also failed to make the line-up as he battles for match fitness.
Roma could cetainly do with goals from Doumbia, who came to the club with a rich pedigree having made his mark at CSKA Moscow, but said it was time for all his players to step up to the mark.
“Now, we’re waiting on Doumbia. Everyone has to work as hard as they can to get back,” added the Frenchman.
Roma host Sampdoria next week and Garcia, who started his spell with the club by steering them to a Serie A record of ten consecutive wins at the start of last season, said it was make or break for his squad.
“Tomorrow we have to say what needs to be said to each other, but I expect some kind of reaction,” he said. “From tomorrow we have to improve. Today we were terrible, unrecognisable.”