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30.04.2007 13:50

“We are the only ones to depend on ourselves”

Sandra Sarmiento

The captain of FC Barcelona has spoken of the difficulties that the team must overcome to win the league. However, he insists that the players have the title within reach though they must be more ruthless away from home.

After another round of the league programme it’s a case as ‘as you were’. Barça continues to top the league table and that boosts the players’ confidence. Team captain, Carles Puyol, told us on Monday: “The league will be difficult right to the end because there are two or three teams coming up strongly from behind. But we depend on ourselves and that’s our confidence”.

A difficult league

This is the most tightly contested league championship of the last five years with just two points separating the top three teams. According to Carles Puyol: “None of the teams has been consistent. We’ve all failed at important moments. The league is tough, complicated, and any team can beat you. Every match will be like a Cup final”. The fact is, Puyol has regularly warned against complacency: “People have wanted to say that the league would be a stroll but right from the first moments we said it would be complicated”. However, he insisted the players were in upbeat mood: “There’s more tension but we’re not nervous”.

The match against Levante

Barça had to work hard to take the three points against Levante. A solitary goal from Eto'o gave them a narrow victory in a match they deserved to win more comfortably: “The match was under control. We had a lot of chances to score. It’s true that when you let the other team off, perhaps what almost happened yesterday can happen to you. They almost equalised at the end”. Kapo had a chance to equalise, prompting Puyol to stress: “We have to finish off matches earlier. But at times that’s not easy”.

Home and away

Yesterday’s win was enough to give Barça their best home record of the Rijkaard era, but away from the Camp Nou things are somewhat different: “We’re not good away from home and now we can’t have any more slip-ups. In Zaragoza we played badly but in Villarreal we didn’t have a bad match. We have to be more ruthless away from home”.

A lean spell

Barça is the top scorer (with 61) in the league but in recent matches the players have found it harder to find the back of the net, scoring just 2 goals in 4 matches. For Puyol it’s just a question of luck: “We’d like to win by more goals. I have a lot of confidence in our forwards. We have players with a lot of quality, the best in the world. The important thing is that we create a lot of chances. This goes in patches. When everything changes, it’ll be a lot easier”.

Careful with Bojan

Puyol also had words of praise for the young Barça B forward Bojan Krkic but appealed to fans and media alike not to put him under too much pressure: “He’s a great player, very young, and we shouldn’t pressurise him. He has to go a step at a time. We have a trainer who knows how to handle these situations very well and he’ll do what’s best for the player”.
“We are the only ones to depend on ourselves”

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Rival defences and Messi
The Cup match against Getafe has had a direct influence on Leo Messi. Puyol called on referees to do more to protect his team-mates and told us: “He’s being marked more toughly. Our forwards receive tackles that are on the edge of legality”.

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