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Luis Enrique: "An honour to coach Roma"

Luis Enrique:


I'll start with a small criticism, because today is my last pre-match press conference and I don't want to get angry. Two days ago I had a meeting with my players and all my coaching staff to explain what I thought and how I felt. It was a very nice moment – I chose to speak in Spanish so I could get my true feelings across and my friend Claudio here did a fantastic translation for me, as always. That was a moment that will remain. My criticism concerns everything that came out in the papers afterwards, which I've only heard about because I don't read them. Nearly everything that's been written was lies. And we're still hearing them now. I wrote on a piece of paper - that I have here with me now [he holds it up] – everything I said to the players, and it was even recorded. I'm not going to show it to you, but I assure you it's very different to the things that appeared in the papers.

It's been a great pleasure to coach this team and not even in the darkest hour did I regret coming to this club. My family love this city and I've had to convince them because they thought I would being staying on. I've always had the utmost respect for the fans I've bumped into in the streets. I'm leaving because I feel very tired and drained. I've given everything this season. I don't think I'll be able to recover my energy over the summer – not the energy needed to motivate a group. I definitely won't be coaching next season, though I don't know if I'd even have had any offers. I'm a very passionate person and this has been a marvellous adventure. Tough, yes, and I used up all my energy trying to reach a target. But when we were three or four games away we came up short. I don't think the season has been a complete failure, though. There are things that you can't see because you're not there in training, but this team has taken huge strides forward. The lads have put a lot of effort in – I've thanked them for that plenty of times and today I'm doing it publicly. They opened up to my philosophy and I think – to a large extent – I managed to get my philosophy across to them.

What was missing? I'm sure there are fans who don't agree with my choices but first and foremost I must be honest with myself. I've said from day one that I would never cling on to the job and when I realised that my presence might be a hindrance to the team I made my decision. These fans are very loyal and the team needs them, just as the club needs them. I wish Roma lots of success and I think they will go on to achieve it. I don't want to criticise anyone. If I've made mistakes and there are people who think I've done something wrong over the course of the season I apologise, but I think I've tried to do the right thing and remain consistent with my ideas.

I still believe you can play attractive football in Italy and I think the best way to do that is with attacking football. I know that I have to improve defensive aspects and I will, don't worry about that. It's been a wonderful experience and I'm very proud to have been the coach of Roma. Thank you.

I've made lots of mistakes but it wouldn't be nice to talk about them today. As a coach, I've tried to instil the right approach in the players for each game. That's my job: to help the players do their jobs better. In terms of football there are things that can be improved. I'm very competitive so each defeat was extremely hard for me to take. I want to win every game, even in training, and that's not just a cliché. Coaches are rightly judged on results but I still believe in my idea of football.

I've spoke about Francesco so many times I think I'm falling in love with him – my wife is quite jealous. I have a special relationship with him and we've got on very well right from the very start. He's always behaved well and I've been lucky to have known him while he was still playing. It was a great pleasure to coach him. I'm going to stay in Rome now for another three or four months to get to know the city better.

Yes, foreign coaches have done well in other leagues and other competitions. Italian football is different in that sense. I've sometimes heard it said that Italian coaches are better than other European coaches. I don't think that's the case, but nor is the opposite true. There are some very good Italian coaches and some not so good ones, and that's the same the world over. It wasn't as hard as some of you make out. It was a very tough season but there are teams that have played extremely well, like Juventus, AC Milan and Udinese. I've been treated very well by my colleagues - they've said 'well done' to me not only when they beat me but also when they lost. It's been nice to be able to share ideas with them, in Coverciano for example. Yesterday, when I came home with the Tapiro d'oro [a satirical prize awarded by Italian TV programme Striscia la notizia], I told my kids it was an award for the best foreign coach in Serie A.

I don't even know 10% of all your programmes. I've just tried to do my job and I know how to do that. I know we've represented a great city and that makes me proud. I think now is the right time to leave, so that the club has enough time to plan for next season. I've never considered resigning after a defeat. The summer is almost here and everything can start afresh – not that this was a wasted year. I've seen what the players have done and now I think the team will be even stronger. And a strong person – the right person – will come in and take over my job.

I've worked alongside people of the highest calibre who have shown incredible faith in me. I'm a person before I'm a coach just as the players are people before anything else, and people come first. What would have happened if we'd qualified for Europe? It makes no sense to talk about that now. Advice for the next coach? I don't think any is needed. All you need here is patience. Do I want to come back to Italy? I don't feel the need to prove people wrong, I'm sure my type of football can work here. Who knows, maybe I will try again...

Thanks for everything and Forza Roma!

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