Rudi Garcia hailed Roma’s “very important victory” at Bologna and hopes Juventus can trip up in the Turin Derby.
The 1-0 result at the Stadio Dall’Ara was earned with a Radja Nainggolan goal, though they also ran some huge risks in stoppages.
“It is a very important victory and that is all that matters,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“The first half was under control, but in the second there were many counter-attacks. We scored a great goal, then suffered too much at the end of the game.
“We knew Bologna were strong in the air, particularly with Rolando Bianchi. We kept a clean sheet and it is always easier to win if you don’t concede, especially away from home.”
The Giallorossi are still second in Serie A, but Garcia acknowledges they have lost some of that early intensity.
“I think we are all aware that we are challenging for something marvellous and the team needs to understand that we have to give our all on the field, especially when it’s difficult.
“When we’ve only got a one-goal advantage, we need to play with a defensive front line that gives everything. I know it’s tough, as at times there is fatigue, but it is necessary. It’s good that we won, but it is also easier to improve when you win.”
Garcia made changes tonight, fielding Rodrigo Taddei and Alessio Romagnoli as full-backs.
“They did well to attack and ensure we didn’t concede. That was the priority, as we know that Roma can score at any moment.
“Is Gervinho tired? He could be, but we were 1-0 up and with those counter-attack spaces open to us I thought it unwise to replace our fastest player. We need to make the right choices in attack, as we had the opportunities to be a lot more secure in this game.”
Juventus are six points in front and face local rivals Torino in the Derby della Mole on Sunday.
“Anything can happen in a derby. The levels of the two teams no longer matter, as it’s just the pride to win and not lose.
“We’ve done our bit for this weekend and can watch what the others do now. Will Juve slow down? I played in Europe many times with Lille and know it takes up a lot of energy. It’s tough after a European fixture.
“We do not play midweek and we’ve got to make the most of that fact.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!