Saturday March 3 2012
Enrique 'knew derby was special'

Luis Enrique “knew from the first day that the Rome derby was a special game. I have no problem with Daniele De Rossi.”

The Giallorossi lost the first edition earlier this season to a last-gasp Miroslav Klose goal after Simon Kjaer was sent off.

“I knew from the very first day I got here that the Rome derby was a special game,” said the Spanish Coach in his press conference.

“All the fans are waiting for this moment and I know how important it is for the city. This is a motivating force for me and the team to reach it in the right conditions. It’s not the most important match in my career, though.

“Can it be a turning point? We are preparing 100 per cent and know Lazio’s strength, as they have been in front of us from the start of the season. I have confidence.”

De Rossi returns to the starting XI after he was sent to the stands against Atalanta for turning up a few minutes late to a team meeting.

“I continue to think in the same way, both on the field and off it. I have no problem with De Rossi or any of my players. That doesn’t mean we agree on everything. The players have their own individual ideas, while the Coach always has to think about the team.

“Every player is ready for the derby, even the injured ones. Games like this must be played with the heart and with passion. It’s an important match tomorrow, not just because it’s a head-to-head for Europe. We’ll see just how important this game was at the end of the season.

“If there is a defeat, then I will take my share of the responsibility. If we win, then we go within four points of Lazio, so that is what counts. The derby is ultimately worth three points.”

Luis Enrique admits there is a different atmosphere between the Rome derby and El Clasico.

“Here there is such huge support from both sets of fans, as there are plenty of each, while at Barcelona or Real Madrid the home supporters take up most of the stadium.”