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29.03.2008 22:54

Rijkaard apologises for defeat

Vanessa Forns

Visibly disappointed by the way his team slumped to defeat at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, Frank Rijkaard told the fans he was sorry about the loss (3-2).

“Inexplicable”. That was how the FC Barcelona manager described the way his team has lost a game that they seemed to have in the bag when leading 2-0 at half time. “It is hard to believe the way the game turned around in the second half. We lost a game that looked easy and we let it slip away in a way that words cannot explain. I apologise to the fans for the defeat”, said a shell-shocked Frank Rijkaard.

“We failed”

But the Barça manager did not feel that the game was lost due to over-confidence. “I think we had some experienced players on the field and they know full well what playing away is all about and how to control and dominate when you are clearly ahead. I don’t mean that the team relaxed. It is inexplicable how we fell so easily into the trap set out by this game … We should have carried on as we did in the first half. But we didn’t, we failed”.

A game of two halves

Frank Rijkaard was always aware that Betis might spring a late surprise. “During the break we spoke to the players and told them that Betis looked motivated. We had to stay strong and keep creating pressure, and spend as much time as possible in the opposition’s half”. He said it had been a game of two very different halves, and that “in the first, the players went out with the right mentality and played well. The second was totally different. We failed”.

“A hard night”

Rijkaard added that Saturday “has been a hard night. I am ashamed of the result ... At tough and emotional moments like these the best thing you can do is stay calm and take things as they come.” He ended by congratulating Betis on their win, and for the way they “believed in their possibilities”.
Rijkaard apologises for defeat
Sunday training at 11.30
The Barça first team will get straight back to training on Sunday at 11.30. This will be the only session the team has in Barcelona before flying out to Germany on Monday, where they have their Champions League quarter final first leg on Tuesday against Schalke 04. On Monday at 19.30, Barça are booked in for a training session in the Veltins-Arena.

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