Roma’s 2-2 draw with Napoli felt like a defeat for many fans inside the Stadio Olimpico, who whistled and jeered the team in the warm up, as they entered the pitch and as they left it at full time. After going ahead through Marquinho, two goals in the second half put Roma behind to provoke yet more vocal dissent from the stands. Although Fabio Simplicio scored a late leveller, it was not enough to appease the Curva Sud.
Totti and the Curva Sud
Francesco Totti and a number of players confronted the curva at full time as the two sides exchanged words, but the prevailing feeling from the banners and chants was that the fans had had enough with Luis Enrique, with one banner calling for former coach Zdenek Zeman. However, in the post match interviews Franco Baldini stressed that the Spaniard would be given time and that any of the team’s failings should be apportioned to the directors.
“Someone said to sell the players, I told them that at this point it would be me who went. It isn’t Luis Enrique’s fault and this was shown in the first half. The atmosphere put pressure on and maybe the team were afraid of winning. We put ourselves too deep and allowed Napoli to recover. But the effort that we put into finding the equaliser was a good thing”, Baldini told Sky Italia.
“I am the one who is responsible, but the team showed in the first half that Luis Enrique has an idea of how he wants the team to play. At the start of the campaign we said that we should not expect a great deal from this season. Luis Enrique deserves at least another season because he needs to prove his worth, and it’s easy to defend him and stay on his side because he deserves it – we really believe in him.
“[Does Luis Enrique have the desire to continue with Roma?] Yes he has this desire, he knew that we must go through difficult situations. This is his first experience [in senior management], but we have deferred the analysis of all the problems and the possible solutions to them until the end of the season”.
Luis Enrique himself stated that he was not satisfied with a draw as he felt the game was winnable, but feels that all that was lacking was Roma’s self belief after going in front.
“I am not happy, today I wanted to win this game. It’s never easy to play knowing that you haven’t been able to make your own fans happy. Napoli played a very good game, but I thought that we could win it”, the coach explained in his interview with Mediaset.
“I am the only one who sees [the team] every day, we are surprised ourselves at our performances in some games, but today we did everything we could to win. We were stuck in the second half only because of fear, but the objective remains to get as many points as possible”.
When Luis Enrique was asked about all the whistles from the fans, he simply replied that “our job is to honour the shirt, to pay back the fans who have an undeniable faith”.
Taddei and Bojan
The players were also aware of the difficulty of the situation, but pledged to keep fighting through it. Rodrigo Taddei said that it is “a difficult moment, we are trying to overcome it with our strength and our quality” in his interview with Roma Channel. “When the results don’t come the protests are normal – they will follow us everywhere and they want to see the team fighting as we did today. [Luis Enrique] is a great coach, a great man. He doesn’t speak in front of the TV but in front of the group”.
Bojan also told Roma Channel that “we deserved at least the draw, in the first half we did well with a lot of intensity. In the second half they scored two great goals and at the end Simplicio’s goal gave us confidence. It has been a positive season [for me], it has not been easy, it has been a big change. I can give more but I am on the right path and I have to work”.