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27.02.2008 23:59

"We are confident about reaching the final"

Vanessa Forns

Frank Rijkaard remained confident that FC Barcelona would reach the final of the Cop'a del Rey after seeing his side equalise in the last minute of the first leg of the semi final against Valencia in Camp Nou on Wednesday evening.

The Dutch coach said that he felt the team "played a very good game" after seeing them dominate both the possession and chances and was pleased that "they did not stop trying until the final whistle". Xavi Hernández netted the leveller in the 94th minute and Rijkaard thought that his side "deserved a draw" but admitted that he regretted "not scoring one more goal".

Deserved draw

"After Barça continued to go forward throughout the game, Rijkaard said that he was pleased with "the good mentality, intense work and desire" shown by the players. For those reasons, the trainer has no doubt that "for all the hard work and effort we deserved to draw". Even when David Villa put the visitors ahead midway through the second half, Rijkaard was pleased that his players "did not let their heads drop and continued playing".

"The goals will come"

Having created numerous chances throughout, Rijkaard said that for that reason he was not disappointed "because we had a lot of possession of the ball and had a lot of opportunities to score". He also believes that "if we continue to play like this then the goals will come". Looking ahead to the second leg he continued: "There is still another game to go and we are confident of reaching the final and are looking forward to it."

Xavi and Messi

Once again, Xavi scored the decisive goal and Rijkaard singled out the midfielder for praise. "Xavi is a great player," he said. "Apart from the goal, he also played very well throughout." Lionel Messi played his 100th official game for the club too and the coach continued: "Messi also played very well. He created a lot of good chances. He is a great player and a real star."
“We are confident about reaching the final“
Back in training
The first team is due to return to training on Thursday at midday. The squad will begin preparations for the league encounter with Atlético de Madrid on Saturday in Vicente Calderón.

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