Gabriel Heinze understands the importance of next weekend’s Rome derby, but has a warning for his teammates. “It cannot save an entire season.”
Roma prepare to host Lazio in the League’s second Derby della Capitale seven points and two places behind the Biancocelesti.
Where Giallorosso Heinze is aware of the necessity to perform well in the game, he has moved to remind his teammates of the subsequent 12 matches that will follow it that carry equal worth.
“We all know that the derby is a special game,” began the No 5 to the assembled Press on Tuesday. “It is very important, but it cannot be a game to save an entire season.
“To save the season, what will count at the end of the campaign is to reach the targets set by the club.
“Eventually we will see if we have done well, that will be the moment of truth, the facts will do the talking.
“For the Champions League, we go from game to game. I currently don’t even know where Roma is ranked at the moment.”
The Argentine international played in the weekend’s 4-1 defeat  suffered away to Atalanta, a game in which Daniele De Rossi was dropped  for turning up late to a team meeting earlier that day.
“It is the first time in my career that I have seen someone punished for something like that,” reflected the defender, who has had spells in France, England and Spain before arriving in Italy this summer.
“I don’t think we suffered. We played well without him - we all know he is obviously an important player, but it cannot be an excuse.
“I think what counts is the privacy of how things are done, that every Coach has his own ways and applies them, both to positive and negative things.
“The Coach puts a few rules in place that must be followed, then the player must be professional, given that there are repercussions otherwise.
“In this group there are no problems of any kind, it is difficult to understand why you write and comment so. There were no problems with [Pablo Daniel] Osvaldo or De Rossi.
“The group needs to grow - to be strong is important. It is a noble group, which now must be more united than ever.”
Heinze was asked if he and his defensive colleagues were struggling with Enrique’s tactics, having previously mentioned that he often finds it is two defenders facing an opponents’ counter-attacks.
“A defence is not only composed of defenders, but by a general defensive organisation. The first two goals in Bergamo have been the result of counter-attacks in which mistakes were made, especially by me.
“Sometimes it is the case that we play well, not this time. With Luis Enrique we talk about everything.”
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid man confirmed that he has not yet begun negotiations on extending his current contract, which expires this coming summer.