Roma coach Luis Enrique has praised club legend Francesco Totti, but refused to guarantee the talismanic captain a place in the team.
Enrique was jeered by fans during Roma’s Europa League exit against Slovan Bratislava after substituting the veteran in the return leg at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Spanish coach has also come under fire in the local press, while some pundits have already called for him to be sacked before he has even taken charge of a Serie A match.
But new American owner Thomas DiBenedetto has publicly backed his coach, who remains unmoved.
“Totti cannot be a normal player like the others. He’s special, unique. He’s scored 207 goals in Serie A,” said Enrique.
“He’s the most important player in Roma’s history but it’s up to me to decide who plays. It’s my right, also, to make mistakes.”
However, despite rumours that Totti has been a disruptive influence behind the scenes, Enrique claims the mood is positive in the Roma camp.
“I’m very happy with everyone’s attitude, also from the club and the officials,” he said.
“When you change a lot as we’ve done you can have a few delicate and strange situations.
“But I’m happy with the support I’ve had and I’m happy with the players, including Francesco, who is our captain.
“I speak every day with the players and I’m happy with things as they stand.
“What I’m concerned about is our next opponents, Cagliari. I haven’t argued with or had a problem with anyone.”