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By ESPN Staff
Aug 27, 2011

President backs Enrique

Roma president Thomas DiBenedetto has come out in defence of club coach Luis Enrique following his team's elimination from the Europa League.

• Europa League: Roma crash out

Roma were knocked out of the competition after Thursday's 1-1 home draw against Slovan Bratislava, with the Slovaks progressing 2-1 on aggregate, but DiBenedetto said: "The elimination of the Europa League doesn't change anything."

Luis Enrique came under heavy criticism for replacing Roma captain Francesco Totti with Stefan Okaka just after the 25th minute of the second half when his team were still leading 1-0 thanks to an early goal by Simone Perrotta. The substitution was met with hisses from Roma fans.

"Francesco is a great champion but at the same time Luis Enrique is free to make the decision he considers necessary for the team," DiBenedetto said.

Luis Enrique, who replaced Vincenzo Montella at Roma this summer, coached the Barcelona B side last season.

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