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18.04.2008 14:55

"Our first objective is the derby"

Berta Brau

Frank Rijkaard was adamant that he is only focussing on the game against Espanyol at the weekend and admitted that he remains confident that the Blaugrana can end the season by winning a trophy.

The Dutch coach said that self-belief was the key for the Blaugrana and with the league title still in play, the derby on Saturday was a vital game, in which several players could return from injury.

The main aim

With Deco, Andrés Iniesta and Thierry Henry all preparing to make their comebacks after knocks and Messi being included again, Rijkaard said: "Some players that have been injured are due to come back. We shall see tomorrow what our thoughts about the game on Wednesday are, but our first objective is the derby."

The keys to the derby

Playing Epsanyol in the local derby, means that all form guides and recent performances go out of the window, according to the coach. "You can be in any situation in the league, but when a derby comes around that is all forgotten. It is a game that creates added motivation and both teams will want to win. We will have to be completely focussed. We are ready to go out and play well and keep a clean sheet."

Miracles can happen

entreno180408_x7x.jpgWhen asked if he felt that Barcelona could still catch Real Madrid at the top of the table if Los Merengues lose against Racing Santander, Rijkaard replied: "Other teams results do not both me. We have to focus on our own work and then see what happens. When you believe in yourself anything can happen, even miracles."

A full game

Messi is due to play his second match after returning from injury last weekend, but Rijkaard still believes that it could be too soon for the Argentinian to pay a full game. "Playing 90 minutes would too much," he stated, before reflecting on whether the forward could guide Barça to the Champions League final. "I do not like to put all the pressure on one player. All that interests me is that he is fit and does not suffer any more injuries. Then we can play him and include him more and more."

Deco is back

QM3D9158.jpgDeco is also set to make his comeback and Rijkaard is delighted to see the midfielder return to action. "He has been one of the key players in the way the team has played over the past few seasons and I am pleased to be able to count on him once more. But just because he is in the squad, that does not mean he can play a full game yet."

The Mexicans

The other duo who have shaken off knocks recently are Rafa Márquez and Giovani Dos Santos. "When Rafa's injury happened again when changed his recovery process and now he is a lot better and is back training with the squad. As for Dos Santos, the coach explained: "He is working very hard alongside his teammates. He is a good player who can create chances and cause problems and he is someone who is always willing to help the team."
“Our first objective is the derby“

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The future of Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho's future was on the agenda once again, but Rijkaard was not going to give anything away. "Events cannot be predicted," he said. "In situations like this there are two sides, the club and the player and the two positions must be respected, despite the fact that I do not think that now is the time to be talking about these things. For the time being we are all together, even Ronnie even though he is injured."

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