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13.12.2006 15:59

Rijkaard warns: "The job isn't finished yet"

Frank Rijkaard was moderately satisfied after the game against America. He was happy with the result but stressed: "We had to suffer at times. Now is when the real final will begin".

After a convincing 4-0 win, Frank Rijkaard has been quick to put a break on any untimely celebrations. While recognising the good performance by his team - "above all in the second half" – he told reporters: "We had to suffer at times. Now is when the real final will begin". "With the score at 0-3, it all seemed easier but there were times when the team had to suffer and Valdés had to save the result".

Congratulations to the players

"We're very happy with the result. It's important to start well. But I noticed that at certain times during the match, we had to suffer. It's a good result. I congratulate the squad. But we mustn't forget that there were moments in the first half when Víctor Valdés had to save the result. With the score at 0-3 it all seemed easier but we had trouble getting into the rhythm of the team. Yes, we have good individuals but I didn't see a very well organised team and America were unlucky. We have to prepare to the maximum for the final. The job isn't finished yet. Now the real final starts"

"We have to improve"

Rijkaard made special mention of Deco, who scored the last goal in the 85th minute and was the lynchpin in much of Barca's attacking play. However, the manager was still at pains to play down the mood of euphoria ahead of Sunday's final against Internacional: "Deco positioned himself well between the lines. We know how he creates danger and that his passes do a lot of damage. He must be congratulated but, in general, I repeat that we have to improve before the final. You can make a tape of all our players' good moves but we lost the ball easily and we gave them options. Fortunately, the team performed well in the second half".

Accumulated tiredness

"Some of the players told me after the match that they were very tired. In the first half we weren't well organised but despite the jet lag, we were OK. We have to improve still. I'm not criticising. A 0-4 win is exciting but the team knows that there is still a lot of work to do here. I haven't noticed any euphoria in the dressing room".  

Rijkaard warns:
Praise for the subs
Frank Rijkaard was also pleased with the performances of men such as Ezquerro and Xavi, who came on in the second half: "It's quite complicated to talk about first team regulars in our squad. In the last game against Real Sociedad, Thuram played, who for me is a regular. I don't want to talk about a fixed eleven and rule out the rest. For example, Santi Ezquerro came on today and played like a regular".

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