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30.01.2008 13:58

Laporta: "We need the fans behind us"

David Puig

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes that the Copa del Rey encounter with Villarreal is a vital match and has called upon the club's supporters to rally behind the team and help in the push for a semi final place.

After a goalless draw in the opening leg of the tie in El Madrigal, the place in the next round is up for grabs and the Blaugrana supremo wants the fans to back the team. "It is a vital game," he said. "Because of that we need the supporters to come to the stadium and be ready to encourage the team. We have to show that we are better than Villarreal, who are a great side, and to do that we need ourt fans. Reaching the semi final would give the team a huge confidence boost."

Confidence in Rijkaard and in the team

30-05-07_web_03.jpgDespite seeing Barça drop two points further behind the league leaders after the draw in San Mamés against Athletic Bilbao last weekend, Laporta was keen to reaffirm his commitment to coach Frank Rijkaard and the rest of the technical team. "Myself and the board have great confidence in the team and the coach," Laporta continued. "We have complete faith in Rijkaard's ability, in his motivational sense and in the way that he coaches the team. We also have complete faith in the squad. We have very good players and the injured ones are returning all the time. When the squad is complete we will be able to show just how strong we are once again."

Ready to close the gap

Laporta then recognised that Real Madrid are on a good run of form, but believes that it will not last. "Now they are winning everything, but a moment always comes along when you begin to falter," he explained. "That is when we must be ready to reduce the gap. If we continue in our current form then that time will come and we will have to take advantage of it. To win trophies we know what hard work is need and now we are going to have suffer to earn something this time."
Laporta: “We need the fans behind us“

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Coach talk dismissed
Joan Laporta has denied press reports that the club had started to look for a new coach: "Frank Rijkaard has a contract until 2009 and my dream is to finish my mandate with the same coach," he said. "He is a great coach that has an image that corresponds with the club. He is calm, judicious, capable and has a great sense of humour. He has been with us for five years and will only leave when he wants to."

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