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16.02.2008 23:59

Rijkaard: “We’re not looking at Real Madrid”

Vanessa Forns

Thanks to the win against Zaragoza by 1-2 and Madrid’s defeat by Betis, Barça has cut the gap with the leader to 5 points. But even though his side is edging closer, Rijkaard still says that “we’re not looking at Madrid”.

The first team has gained an important victory in La Romareda which after Real Madrid’s slip-up against Betis (2-1) means that the gap between the two is now down to five points. Yet Frank Rijkaard insists that neither he nor his players are looking at Madrid and says that the most important thing for Barça is “to win all the games we have left”.

A hard fought and open game

Winning in La Romareda wasn’t easy. The Barcelona coach said that Saturday’s match was “hard fought and very open all the way through”. Frank Rijkaard said that he had seen a game of two contrasting halves: “In the first half we controlled the ball and the game quite well. But then in the second we gave away both the ball and control of the match too easily and that was when Zaragoza thought they had a chance and put on the pressure.”

Difficult second half

Rijkaard when on to say that the equaliser scored by Oliveira in the 53rd minute “was a real setback”, although he added that the team “had continued looking for something else”. Given that Zaragoza “are dangerous when they take the ball off you and play it deep,” Barça’s Dutch coach said it was essential “to keep up the pressure on the park.” However, he admitted that the second half of the game “didn’t go exactly the way we’d planned”.

Ronaldinho keeps his cool

Frank Rijkaard was delighted with the goals by Henry and Ronaldinho. The Barça coach praised the “composure” with which the Brazilian international took responsibility for taking the penalty late on in the game. Rijkaard thought that Ronaldinho played with “some nice touches and intelligence” and said he hopes that “he’ll continue in the same vein”.

The penalty decision

Frank Rijkaard said he didn’t have “a clear view” of the incident which led to the referee awarding a penalty to Barcelona and hence “I can’t say what happened”. Commenting in response to a question about the reaction of the Zaragoza players, Rijkaard said that “it often happens when a player doesn’t necessarily intentionally handle the ball that people get upset but the decision is up to the referees”.
Rijkaard: “We’re not looking at Real Madrid”
Sunday, arrival and training
Barça’s first team will spend tonight in Zaragoza. Tomorrow Sunday at around 9 am they will come back to Barcelona by coach. When they get to the Camp Nou, the squad will go the dressing rooms to get changed and then have a training session to recover from today’s match in La Romareda and to start getting ready for next Wednesday’s crucial fixture away at Glasgow Celtic in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

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