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01.04.2008 23:35

Rijkaard highlights good mentality

Vanessa Forns

Frank Rijkaard highlighted the good mentality of the FC Barcelona team after seeing his side record a valuable 1-0 victory against Schalke 04 in the opening leg of their Champions League quarter final tie in the Arena Aufschalke on Tuesday.

The Dutch coach stated that he believes that the team's defeat in Seville against Real Betis Balompié on Sunday ensured that the players learnt a lesson and went to Germany knowing that it was vital that they obtain a good result: "We approached the game with a great mentality. With all the noise that was being made by people outside the squad it was simpler for us to prepare for the game and everyone was more motivated. It was recognised that we were all going through a difficult time."

Hard work pays off

When asked what he felt had changed between the game against Schalke and the performance against Betis at the weekend, Rijkaard was not ready to enter into much analysis: "It is always difficult to compare one game with another," he said. "We worked very hard here. We started well and it is obvious that we had to suffer a bit at the end. Schalke are a strong team and they worked hard to try and change the result. We held out well.

"We started the game well and our positional play was very good and characterised our opening," Rijkaard continued. "We pressurised the opposition defence well too. Later in the game we became too direct at times and we took note of that."

Praise for Bojan

Bojan Krkic scored the only goal of the game after 11 minutes and Rijkaard was impressed with the striker, who became the second youngest goalscorer in the competition and the first player born in the 1990's to score. "He does things that great players do," the coach said.

Possibilities in the league

Finally, Rijkaard pointed out that Barça will not only be thinking about the Champions League: "We still have a chance in the league and we have to keep going in order to be there. What we want now is to win every that we play."
Rijkaard highlights good mentality
Straight back for training
The FC Barcelona first team remained in Germany overnight in order to return to the Catalan capital on Wednesday. The team is expected to take off at 11.30am and land in Barcelona at around 13.45pm. When the players arrive at Camp Nou the squad will have a light training session in order to recover at 14.30pm.

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