Joel: Adryan must be protected
Ahead of the Manchester United linked youngster's full debut in the Brasileirão, Flamengo coach Joel Santana insists that he will do all he can to protect Adryan ahead of the 17-year-old's full debut against Bahia on Sunday.
Adryan, who was consistently linked with Manchester United for the past twelve months, is seen by many fans as a ray of hope during the club's current difficulties, but his experienced coach wants to take away some of the burden.
“I'm his side-kick. The burden has to be on me, not him. Not only as a player, but also because of his age," Joel told Globo Esporte.
"We must remember that he is coming through at a time when we are not playing that well. I must be his shield. If an arrow is fired, I will take it.
"It is not going to happen with him. We have to protect him and the other youngsters. We must protect Matheus, Thomás, Negueba, Muralha, Luiz Antonio..."
Adryan, himself, is less worried at the prospect of shouldering the expectations of the Rubro-Negro faithful, hoping to draw strength from his team-mates.
"The opportunity came at a good time, I came on in the last two games and showed what I can add to the team,” Adryan added.
“I can only thank the Professor [Joel Santana], who had confidence in me and helped me at this time. We need to end this run and I want to help. The nation [Flamengo fans] are on our side.
“I try to forget the opponents and the opposing fans. I try to think only of my team-mates at my side. It's pretty straight-forward.”