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09.01.2007 17:25

Rijkaard: "The prize is for everyone"

Frank Rijkaard has dedicated his award as the best coach of 2006 to FC Barcelona, Txiki Begiristain and all the coaches that he works with and emphasised that teamwork was the key behind the honour.

The Dutchman has been named as the coach of the year by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), but he stayed loyal to his principles and praised the work of those around him and the role that they played in helping him achieve so much with Barça during the past 12 months. "I am very pleased", Rijkaard stated. "But I do not consider it as an award for myself. It is for the club, for Txiki and for the coaches that have helped me, Eusebio, Juan Carlos, Paco Seirul.lo, Albert Roca, Johan Neeskens and Henk Ten Cate. It is about teamwork." Although he is evidently proud of the honour, Rijkaard stated that he would not be going to collect the prize "because if I did then I would have to take along everyone that I have worked with to make this possible."

Squad changes

While Thiago Motta has regained his place in the squad for the trip to Alavés in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, having recovered from flu, both Ronaldinho and Deco have been left out. Rijkaard explained his decision stating: "It appeared to me to be the best thing if they continued training to prepare for the next game and we are not talking about any punishment here. There is nothing else to it."

Cup mentality

For the Barça coach, all the competitions are important and he is now focussed on beating Alavés in the Copa del Rey. "The team always goes out to defend the club colours and to make the supporters proud," he said. "The mentality will be very important," he continued. "There are games when you know that you will have to go out and work very hard, but that does not mean that I do not want the team to play attractively. It is simply that the mentality is the most important thing and then quality can make a real difference."

No opinion on Piterman

Rijkaard refused to talk about Alavés president Dmitri Piterman as he explained: "I cannot give an opinion without knowing somebody. He has his reasons for doing the things that he does. It is his way of running the club and he must be respected for that." The Barça boss was equally prudent when talking about Real Madrid. "I have not spoken to (Fabio) Capello lately, but that is talking about another team and another club and I prefer to focus on Barcelona."

Eto'o's recovery
Frank Rijkaard is confident that Samuel Eto'o will soon be back in action as he his recovery from a meniscus injury continues to go well. "He should start training again in the next few weeks," the Dutchman said. "He is working hard and is very keen to return and to become a key player again."

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