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08.03.2008 14:39

Home advantage

Sandra Sarmiento

Frank Rijkaard believes that Fulham will be a "difficult opponent" and that Barça "should make the advantage of playing at home count" by winning all three crucial points.

The Blaugrana host one of the most successful away teams of the season on Sunday. Villarreal have played five consecutive games away from home without losing and have won seven of their 12 games on their travels this term. "Villarreal are always difficult to play and they always play well against Barça," Rijkaard said. "That should give us more motivation."

Previous encounters

entreno8308_x8x.jpgThe two teams have already met in the league and the Copa del Rey this season, so familiarity is not a problem. "Every game is different, but if we keep in mind out previous meetings this term we have seen that they are always quite even affairs," the coach continued. "We have to make our advantage of playing at home count and we will have our fans behind us."

Not worrying about others

Rijkaard was not keen to think about what Madrid may or may not do this weekend. "I prefer not to think about them," he said. "If we do not obtain the result we want then it will not help us to think about what they do. What we need to do is play well on Sunday and then we shall see." Madrid take on Espanyol at the Bernabéu on Saturday.

Messi out

QM3D8251.jpgFinding a replacement for Lionel Messi is almost an impossible mission and Rijkaard recognised that: "There is no player that can replace Messi, but we cannot change our style of play as that would be over the top. The team feels comfortable with the way that we always play."

What worries the trainer more is trying avoid situations like Messi's as it is the second muscle injury he has had this season. "The player has to learn to know his body to prevent it happening again. He is suffering, but psychologically he is strong and should know to handle it in order to continue playing at the top level for many more years."
Home advantage

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Touré’s back
Touré Yaya was suffering from back pain on Friday that stopped him from training, but he has been included in the squad after training normally on Saturday. "He has some pain," said Frank Rijkaard. "But he is okay to play. Maybe not the full 90 minutes. We will have to see."

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