Gervinho: Juventus win could change the season

The Ivorian believes the importance of Sunday's clash proves how the Giallorossi are growing under Rudi Garcia but has stressed a top-three finish remains their focus
Gervinho believes victory over Juventus on Sunday could transform the course of the season for Roma.

The Giallorossi, unbeaten in their opening 17 Serie A games to date this term, travel to Turin looking to close the five-point gap to leaders Juve, and Gervinho feels the importance of the clash underlines the progress the team has made under Rudi Gracia.

"When I arrived everyone talked about Lazio and it seemed as if the only objective of the year was to win the Rome derby," he told La Stampa.

"You can see the horizons have been expanded now, because this week I realised the rivalry doesn't end at the city walls.

"We're talking about a battle for first place and to beat Juventus means getting close to the top. Whether it's Arsenal-Manchester United or Juve-Roma, it is still a game that, if you win, can change the season.

"There are also particular rivalries between the fans. In London there was Arsenal-Tottenham, but our role is to do our best on the pitch, then the supporters can put what significance they want on to it.

"My job is to help the fans feel content when they get their post-match beer."

Victory over Antonio Conte's side would keep Roma firmly in the hunt for the Scudetto, but Gervinho maintains the club's focus this season is to secure a return to Europe's grandest stage.

"Our objective for this season remains Champions League qualification," added the former Arsenal forward.

"We are aware of how well organised Juventus are, but if we look at Roma's players, the number of internationals and the coach, then we have all the elements needed to believe in more."