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Apr 29, 2012

Baldini: Enrique needs another year

Roma director Franco Baldini insists Luis Enrique needs more time to build a legacy at the club after fans protested against the Spanish coach during the 2-2 draw with Napoli.

• Saturday's Serie A review
• Highlights: Roma 2-2 Napoli
• Zuniga's superb equaliser vs Roma
• Cavani's fantastic strike vs Roma

Enrique, 41, arrived at the Stadio Olimpico to a fanfare last summer but has endured a difficult debut campaign, with Roma currently looking likely to miss out on qualifying for Europe next season.

However, Baldini is convinced that the former Barcelona midfielder is the right man for the job and claimed he told supporters that he would rather quit than see Enrique sacked after they called for his head during Saturday night's game.

"Someone asked me to sack the coach, but I replied that I'd rather leave instead, so he ought to take it out on me," Baldini said. "Luis Enrique is our coach and he is not the problem. The team proved that with a magnificent first half.

"The atmosphere around the team creates pressure and the squad felt that when Napoli attacked. In the second half they reacted well to earn the draw.

"The team is not relaxed, but despite that situation the coach has a clear idea of his football and has to be supported over a period of years by the club with the right signings.

"Luis Enrique has great quality and needs at least another year to prove it by constructing something here. We firmly believe in him and he believes in the project, despite the difficulties we have run into."

Roma winger Rodrigo Taddei also leapt to his coach's defence, saying: "We have an excellent rapport with him and he deserves respect. He is a great man and a great coach."

Giallorossi captain Francesco Totti was among a group of players who spoke to fans in the club's infamous Curva Sud stand after the game in a bid to calm their protestations, though Enrique admitted he is unlikely to follow in their footsteps anytime soon.

"Francesco made a lovely gesture in going to see the fans," Enrique told Corriere dello Sport. "I did not go because at this moment it would've been provoking the supporters.

"In any case, you will never see me go under the Curva, not even if I should win 10 or 20 games in a row. This is something for players. When I was a player, I enjoyed the embrace of the people, but now I am a coach."

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