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17.04.2007 14:58

“We have two objectives left – one is the Cup”

Barça are back in action in the Copa del Rey after a three week break in the competition. Coach Frank Rikjaard insisted that winning the cup is one of the two objectives that remain for Barça this season.

Barça have not managed to win the Copa del Rey since the season 97-98. With the first leg of the semi-finals taking place this week, the cup competition along with the league title are the two remaining objectives for this team. Rikjaard has no doubts “the fact we’ve been eliminated in other seasons allowed us to concentrate on the league and the Champions League. But it’s different now. We have two objectives left and one of them is the cup.”

“We are in the same situation as the last game with Mallorca and we will miss Ronaldinho, but that’s the reality and we have to adapt on the field. It will be interesting to see how the team will adapt this time”.

Schuster and Getafe

17-04-07_01.jpgThe tie will bring face to face on the sidelines two extraordinary former midfielder players. Rikjaard was quick to praise Bernd Schuster: “He was a great players and he knows the game perfectly. He was a star of world football and now he’s a great coach. To coach a big club depends on him and on the club he wants, but he deserves it.”

Rikjaard spoke at length about Wednesday’s rival – one of the revelations in the league and the cup this season: “We always go into our games with respect for our opponent, Getafe certainly deserve it as they have been enjoying a fine season and they are also preparing well for this tie. For Rikjaard the key to reaching the final could be “making the difference with goals and not losing possession.”

The last game

17-04-07_Web_Rijkaard_02.jpgThe cup match comes just 72 hours after Barça fought to the end against Mallorca to secure 3 valuable league points. Rikjaard jumped to the defence of his teams’ most recent performance: “Barça’s job is always to play well and win. That is what our public want – win with an attractive style. Sometimes there are games against teams that are very defensive and in those games playing well means having a good attitude. Fighting until the last minute like we did against Mallorca means we grow as a team.”

Rikjaard also emphasised that his team is in good physical shape and the proof is clear for all to see: “When a team wins in the last minute its because they work until the end, and that means there are no physical problems. In the first 20-30 minutes we played well but couldn’t get the goal that would have made the difference”.
“We have two objectives left – one is the Cup”

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In recent days there has been a lot of talk about Turienzo Àlvarez, the referee in the Racing-Real Madrid match. Rikjaard asked for everyone to take responsibility: “I can only say one thing in general. I think the referees always try do their job the best they can. We all make mistakes – players and coaches alike. I’m not saying he made a mistake. But there is a lot of talk on the television and a lot of people listening. Some people accept things that are said without thinking and as a result they get the wrong idea. We all have a responsibility to allow people to get on with their jobs in peace.”

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