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30.01.2007 00:00

Rijkaard: "Zaragoza is an extra motivation for us"

Since Dutch coach Rikjaard arrival at FC Barcelona, he has seen his team eliminated from the Cup by Zaragoza on two occasions. As a result Rikjaard says that this tie against the same opposition "should be an added motivation".

In order to beat Victor Fernandez team, the Barça players must have "the correct mentality" explains Rikjaard. He also adds that "concentration will be key" in overcoming their opponents. Barça's coach says that the team from Aragon are stronger than last season", although he admits that they will miss Pablo Aimar: "He is their most creative player, the star of the team. They are going to miss him that's for sure."

The Cup, one of the objectives

FC Barcelona have ear-marked the Cup as one of the primary objectives of the season, its a competition coveted by Rikjaard's team: "Drawing conclusions, looking back in such a dense schedule the elimination from the cup worked out well for us last season. However, this year we hope to go as far as possible, but in order to do that we first need to play well tomorrow against a good team. Therefore the Cup is definitely one of our objectives."

Confidence in Rodríguez Santiago

When Rikjaard was asked about the supposed 'help' his team is receiving from the referees lately, the Dutch coach was categorical in his response: "I don't agree. The referee is on the pitch to do the job the best way he can. I have full confidence in all the referees. After a game there is always someone who will complain. Normally I don't do that"

Edmílson's comments

Another of the subjects discussed during the press conference prior to the Cup match against Zaragoza was the comments of Edmílson about how a footballer should behave in order to be at his best on the field of play. Rijkaard says "it's all sorted out in the dressing room": "Edmílson spoke in general. It's a general message and that's OK. "It's funny. I think Edmílson has given his general opinion about the way sport is from his point of view. After that the game begins, there are journalists who look for other players. In the dressing room everything is sorted out and there is no problem. All the Barça players are here on merit. They have made a lifestyle suitable for being Barça players. I'm not worried."

Eto'o and Messi

About the impending return of two of the Barça players currently out injured, Samuel Eto'o y Leo Messi, Rijkaard insisted that it is a decision for the medical staff to say when they will be ready: "That is a matter for the doctors. I'm the coach and I always say I hope they recover as quickly as possible, but they need the ok from the doctors first."

Signings for next season
"I'm not going to talk about the future. I would need to talk to Txiki. Right now you can begin to think about the future but it's very early to make any final conclusions. We still have a lot of games to play and this squad still has a lot to prove," explained Rikjaard at the end of the news conference.

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