MILAN - AS Roma coach Rudi Garcia believes his side are stronger than rivals Juventus and can win the Serie A title this season despite their controversial 3-2 defeat to the defending champions in their most recent match.
The Frenchman reiterated that Roma were badly treated in Turin but said the row over the match had dragged on too long, partly because of the international break.
"I have faith in my players, they have showed strength and personality and that game was anything but a defeat. We scored two goals and could have scored more," he told reporters.
"It has made me understand that we are stronger than Juventus on the pitch. And I say it clearly, that we will win the scudetto, we can do it."
Garcia, whose side host Chievo on Saturday (1600 GMT), was sent off against Juventus for protesting about one of two penalties awarded to the titleholders in their stormy top-of-the-table clash on Oct 5.
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Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, who was not playing because of injury was involved in angry exchanges with Juventus fans sitting nearby in one of several unsightly incidents which marred the game. Roma also complained about poor treatment at Turin airport on the way home.
"There have been too many days since our last competitive game and because of that, too much has been said about the match against Juventus," said Garcia.
"I only want to say one thing about Juventus. The reception that we received on the pitch and in the stands was a disgrace."
Garcia was also angry over criticism aimed at Roma's 38-year-old captain Francesco Totti, who said after the game that Juventus always win "by hook or by crook".
"When my captain speaks, he must be respected, because he is a great man of football. He said those things because his values had been betrayed and he wanted justice.
"We have watched the match again and the images speak for themselves... I have grasped the fact that even the best Italian referee can react like that under pressure, a pressure which has affected everyone."
Juventus have won the last three Serie A titles and Roma were their nearest challengers last season, finishing 17 points behind in second place.They have won their first six games this season, while Roma have won five out of six and are three points behind in second.
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