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23.04.2008 23:56

Rijkaard impressed by the tension and the crowd

Vanessa Forns

Frank Rijkaard said he felt plenty of tension in tonight’s Champions League semi final at the Camp Nou, and was especially pleased with the way the fans responded.

The Barça manager was both delighted with the way his players performed and with the empathy and understanding he sensed with the fans on the occasion of such a crucial European tie against Manchester United. “I think that the atmosphere and the tension, and that includes the crowd, was fantastic” he said. “It was a top level Champions League match”.

Confident squad

Frank Rijkaard has to admit that a goalless draw “is not a good result” but his general mood ahead of next week’s trip to England is a confident one. “The team worked very hard, they did everything they could to get a good result, and didn’t allow Manchester too many occasions. We wanted victory, but anyway, the tie is still wide open. We are confident and now we just have to be prepared for it”.

“We will get our chances”

The Barça manager did not feel that his players had gone into the game feeling like they were favourites to win, and that “they transmitted good sensations out on the pitch. Some people are convinced that we will be able to make it to the final, even though it won’t be easy. We have to stay serious about this and be organised on the pitch. We will get our chances”.

Manchester United

Asked to review the game, Frank Rijkaard felt it was “quite even” and that the English outfit “was very well organised in defence, while also looking to come at us on the counter”. Asked about the lack of goals seen tonight, he said “the most important thing is to keep creating chances, but at the same time, you do need some of those chances to go in. Now we just have to do all we can to get through the round”.

Penalty incident

Frank Rijkaard was also asked about the second minute penalty incident, to which he was delighted to see the players responded in excellent fashion. He said that “it was a very delicate moment for us. Luckily Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t score. That would have made things very hard. It was one of the key moments of the game”.
Rijkaard impressed by the tension and the crowd
Laporta: “We could have got a better result”
Joan Laporta se was very pleased with the way his team performed against Manchester United at the Camp Nou, but felt they could have achieved more. “We get the feeling we could have got more out of the game, but there are still 90 minutes left. It was a game between two great powers, but perhaps we offered more football.”

The Camp Nou crowd backed the home side all the way and Joan Laporta publicly thanked them for their support and hoped that Barça can now respond with a good result at Old Trafford. “Old Trafford is the ‘theatre of dreams’” he said. “Well, let’s see if our dream can come true.”

Asked to say more about the return leg in England, Joan Laporta agreed that Old Trafford is “a difficult ground and a smaller pitch”, but is aware that there is no reason why Barça cannot expect to make it to the final. “We always try to be the better team, and we never feel inferior to anyone. We have a high quality squad and very talented players”, he said. Finally, on the penalty Cristiano Ronaldo missed in the second minute, Joan Laporta commented that “it is Saint George’s Day, and he is the Patron Saint of Catalonia, and that helped. Penalties usually end in goals, so we were a bit lucky”.

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