September 25, 2013 / 11:57 PM / in 6 years

Garcia restores Roma's pride

AS Roma Medhi Benatia (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Sampdoria during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

ROME (Reuters) - A fifth successive win lifted Rudi Garcia’s AS Roma side into top spot in Serie A on Wednesday and the Frenchman looks to have made potential title contenders out of a team that looked in disarray at the start of the season.

A 2-0 win at Sampdoria maintained their 100 percent league record, the first time in their history that they have kept it so far into the season, something no-one would have predicted after general manager Franco Baldini and star player Erik Lamela moved to Tottenham Hostpur in the close season.

Garcia had an even trickier job trying to placate hostile supporters, who spent all summer being goaded by local rivals Lazio after losing the Italian Cup final to them in May.

“I’m really happy with the five consecutive wins, but I’m more interested in making history at the end of the season,” Garcia told reporters.

Roma Francesco Totti remarked that Garcia “commanded respect” when signing his contract extension, and that it was something the side had missed since the club’s American owners arrived, in a thinly-veiled dig at Luis Enrique, Zdenek Zeman and Aurelio Andreazolli who presided over two seasons of failure.

While Roma are yet to take on any of the division’s best sides, the signs are that they are back among the country’s big boys.

“It’s too early to start assessing things, but I’m happy for the team,” added Garcia.

“I’ve got a fantastic group and there’s joy and enthusiasm in the dressing room. This is important for the future.”

Editing by Ed Osmond

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