Cagliari vs. Roma: 6 Things We Learned
It had been a long time since Roma came away from Sardinia with a victory, but Rudi Garcia's side cannot stop winning right now, and their game against Cagliari was another impressive performance.
Mattia Destro's hat-trick will grab all the headlines, but it was another flawless team effort, and Alessandro Florenzi and Gervinho were also excellent up front in this 3-1 win.
Mattia Destro Is Italy's In-Form Striker
In this form, Destro should be one of the first names on the squad sheet, not only for Roma but for Italy, too.
Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli has several attacking options to choose from, but the young Roma striker has developed into the complete forward since shaking off his long-term injury issues. If he can continue like this, he'll light up the World Cup this summer.
Rudi Garcia Is a Great Motivator
Not exactly news, but Garcia is always glowing in his praise about his players, and the positivity is clearly working wonders for everyone's confidence.
A lot's been said—rightly—about the way he's turned around Gervinho's career since the Ivorian's move from Arsenal, but Garcia's also had a profound effect on Destro, a player who was tipped for great things but failed to really shine at Roma last year, following his big-money move.
His comments after the Cagliari game were typical. Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, (here in English via Football-Italia) Garcia said:
It was the right result, especially with great possession and fluidity in the second half. We were able to make the most of the spaces after taking the lead.
Above all what I knew about him was that he was injured. Today he proved that he is not only a box striker, but a complete forward and he understood you have to give your all in every second of every game. He must maintain that desire to win.
It’s true that when Francesco Totti isn’t playing, Destro is a very useful centre-forward. Playing with the others he can only improve, but even when he plays out wide – even with freedom of movement – he can spread his influence in different areas. I don’t like any of my forwards to stay in a specific position.
Of course I knew Gervinho could be this decisive. He started with me at Le Mans, then at Lille we won the Double, so when I arrived at Roma I realised we were missing someone like him. He can get past one or two men and make the difference against teams that are locked down. Gervinho always plays for his teammates too and makes good choices.
We have a very attentive staff who study the opposition, which is why we know what to do. Roma hadn’t won here for 19 years, so we knew this was a difficult test, but the team is confident.
Cagliari Need to Rely on More Than Daniele Conti
The son of a Roma legend, Daniele Conti has been Cagliari's most important player for some time. The Roman is a rock at the centre of the Rossoblu's play since he moved from the Giallorossi back in 1999.
Unfortunately, at 35, Conti cannot continue to be the answer to all of Cagliari's problems long term. He was, as usual, one of the best performers in this game, but it should worry their fans that only Mauricio Pinilla, a 30-year-old journeyman with 13 clubs under his belt since 2002, could match the captain in terms of industry or impact.
Nene Is Not Capable of Competing at the Highest Level
Most of Cagliari's squad are below par at the moment, but no Serie A side can hope to do well with a striker who's only managed 23 goals in 123 league appearances—especially considering three of those strikes came as an unlikely hat-trick against Catania in 2010.
It never feels right to dismiss a player totally, but at 30, Anderson Miguel da Silva doesn't look like he'll improve enough to warrant playing in Italy's top flight. Nene needs replacing if Cagliari want to improve.
Cagliari Fans Have Reason to Wonder About Massimo Cellino's Purchase of Leeds
The Italian entrepreneur is in the middle of a controversial purchase of the Yorkshire club, and Cagliari's fans should be wondering why their owner is interested in a second-tier English club when their own Serie A side is in such a sorry condition.
The stadium redevelopment has been a disaster, and the squad is lacking in every department. Spending money abroad isn't the most obvious tactic for Cellino, if he's still serious about Cagliari's future.
Radja Nainggolan Continues to Impress
Radja Nainggolan finished the game with another solid performance. He can claim an assist for the second goal, and the crucial move that started the first goal. In other words, he was invaluable to the Giallorossi.
If Destro hadn't have scored a hat-trick, the Belgian would have been man of the match.