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19.03.2008 14:13

“Everybody knows how important the game is”

Jordi Clos

Frank Rijkaard feels the side is well focussed on the cup semi final. He also said that Ronaldinho, who is still not fully fit, was left out as a precautionary measure.

Barça face Valencia in the cup semi finals on Thursday. “Everybody knows how important the game is. We have to qualify and present a good image of ourselves”, said Frank Rijkaard in his pre-match press conference. He said “the 1-1 in the first leg means we are going to have to get a goal, play well and be well organised”.

Good mentality

archivar_13.jpgRijkaard feels his men “have a good mentality for doing that … We have to show that we are better”. He also feels that criticism “is a part of the job … All of the players are committed to the team.” On Valencia, he said “the y will approach the game in a similar way to the way they approached the game at the Camp Nou”.

Protection for Ronnie

There has been a lot of talk about the absence of Ronaldinho. Frank Rijkaard explained that “today was the first day he has trained with the team for several days. He wanted to play but we left him out as a precautionary measure … I have no doubts about the player, and although he has problems, he wants to play … My idea is always to defend the players. I see no need to draw conclusions anywhere other than in the dressing room”.

A qualified squad

190308_rijkaard_02.jpgBut it is not just Ronaldinho. Rijkaard knows that “unfortunately the team is used to playing with important players missing. They are ready.” He is also delighted to see how injured players like Márquez and Giovani are progressing, and soon “they will be able to rejoin the group.” The Dutchman said that both Mexicans were able to train today at the Camp Nou, but in isolation from their team mates.
“Everybody knows how important the game is”

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Highly motivated
Frank Rijkaard suggested that president Joan Laporta has offered a special incentive to the players for making the final of the Copa de Rey. “It is a gesture by the board that shows how important this game is. It is more important, however, for the players to be motivated in a sporting sense and we all want to qualify” said the Barça manager.

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