Rudi Garcia's Roma will want to go one better than their Serie A rivals Inter and beat Real Madrid this Tuesday. The Giallorossi face the 10-time European champions at Dallas' Cotton Bowl, in another ideal friendly test before their campaign for Scudetto success kicks off at the end of August.
Roma's opening game of the International Champions Cup against Manchester United ended in a loss, but there were plenty of positives on show for Garcia, and the manager felt that the result was undeserved. Speaking to the press after the match, via Football Italia, he said:
It was a shame to go into the break 3-0 down. We need to be sharper, because if 2-0 down at half-time we could well have won.
The result was excessive, but at the end of the day they won and deserved it. The difference was in their efficiency, as Manchester United had 50 per cent more shots on target.
There were many youngsters today who had never even played in Serie A, so it was natural to feel a little nervousness against United.
Pjanic’s goal was fantastic and will go all round the world. I can say the training session with the Broncos did him good!
Miralem Pjanic's goal grabbed the headlines, and rightfully so, but fans for the Lupi will have been just as intrigued to see a slew of new players in action, including Juan Iturbe, Salih Ucan, Leandro Paredes, Urby Emanuelson, Seydou Keita and Antonio Sanabria.
Arturo Calabresi and Michele Somma also made the step up from Roma's Primavera youth side, joining Mehdi Benatia at the back, before the star defender was replaced by another teenager, the Romanian Mihai Balasa in the second half. Polish prospect Lukasz Skorupski also made a rare appearance in goal.
The last time the two sides met competitively, back in 2008 in the Champions League, Roma won 2-1 in Madrid. Beating Carlo Ancelotti's men in Texas would be a huge confidence boost ahead of their return to Europe's premier competition this season, even if these friendlies are more about fine-tuning fitness and experimenting with new players.
With so many new players to assess before the new season starts, it's difficult to predict how Garcia will start the game against Real, other than to say that it will almost certainly be with his usual 4-3-3 formation and will likely feature a host of substitutions.
There's no reason not to start Skorupski in goal again and give the 23-year-old some more precious game time, and in defence, Garcia will likely want to give all of his options a run out, especially since neither of his main centre-backs, Benatia or Leandro Castan, played at this summer's World Cup. Davide Astori, who has just joined the group in the U.S. after his surprise signing from Cagliari, should also feature.
Against such illustrious opposition, it will be tempting for the French coach to start with a strong squad, and we should see Radja Nainggolan and Pjanic in midfield alongside one another again after they both impressed against United.
Upfront, new players like Iturbe should be given more time, but those on the fringes, like the exciting young Serbian Adem Ljajic, deserve a chance to impress as well and should be called upon.
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