BATE – Roma Preview: Garcia backs 'brilliant' Gervinho to step up

The Serie A outfit are without a host of attacking options due to injury and their boss has backed the former Arsenal man to cover their absences in Belarus


Ahead of Roma’s Champions League clash with BATE , manager Rudi Garcia has backed the “brilliant” Gervinho to fill the void left in attack following injuries to Edin Dzeko and Francesco Totti.

Roma, who have made their worst start to a season since Garcia took charge in 2013, drew with reigning champions Barcelonao on matchday one of Group E, while BATE were beaten comprehensively by Bayer Leverkusen.

Tuesday’s meeting is the first-ever between the two sides, though BATE have faced Serie A opposition on eight occasions in the past – losing four and drawing the rest.

Garcia’s side bounced back from their first defeat of the season against Sampdoria with a 5-1 thumping of Carpi on Saturday, with Gervinho netting his first goal of the campaign.

And Garcia – who lost to Belarusian Premier League champions BATE when in charge of Lille in 2012 – is confident that the Ivory Coast forward can step up in the absence of Dzeko and Totti.

“We know he can be brilliant offensively and he showed during the pre-season that he wants to do his bit to help the Roma cause,” Garcia said.

“He had a very good game [against Carpi] and he’s got his confidence back again now going ahead to the next – that’s always good for a striker.

“We need to believe in our ability and show what we can do out on the pitch. The squad is strong even with injuries.”

Roma confirmed on Sunday that Dzeko would be out for up to four weeks with a twisted knee, while Totti, who netted his 300th Roma goal in their recent draw against Sassuolo, is set to undergo further scans on a thigh injury.

The strike duo join Seydou Keita (thigh) and Wojciech Szczesny (wrist) on the sidelines for the visitors.

Meanwhile, BATE’s loss to Leverkusen was just their fourth defeat in 2015, and Aleksandr Yermakovich’s side have triumphed in both their domestic fixtures since.

Yermakovich is certain to be without top-scorer Vitali Rodionov (knee), but will be hopeful former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Alexander Hleb will be fit to play after suffering a hamstring injury against Leverkusen.

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