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29.04.2008 23:59

Rijkaard: “It is a complicated and difficult moment”

Vanessa Forns

Visibly affected by the disappointment of missing out a trip to Moscow, Frank Rijkaard was dismayed at the lack of goals and confessed that this is a very testing moment for him.

Tonight's elimination at the hands of Manchester United came down to one thing. As Rijkaard put it in his post-match press conference at Old Trafford, "they scored a goal. That is the simple reality. We played a great game and all we were missing was a goal.

A time for help

Frank Rijkaard was asked whether FC Barcelona’s elimination from Europe has marked the end of an era, but he made it clear that the only thing people should worry about now is supporting the players through to the end of the season. “We are going through a very complicated and difficult moment” he said. “And what the squad need now is help. The players have to show their character and courage and have to end the season as well as they can. We can come out of this game with our heads held high”.

Courage and character

There are still four league games to play, but the Dutchman is aware of how difficult this moment is for everybody. But he hoped his players could bring out their "character and courage, because that's the only thing we can do”.

He was inevitably asked whether the best solution for the club would be a change of manager, to which he replied that “now is not the time talk about such things. Barça is a big club with people that are able to make decisions and draw conclusions about this season. The team needs help and right now I don’t want to say I don’t want to carry on. It would be different if they told me that it would be better for me to leave. What we need to do now is put all of our character and courage into ending the season in dignity”.

Major disappointment

After coming so close to the final, it was only logical for “us all to be very sad and disappointed. The team did all they could to get their job done, but it wasn’t to be.” Frank Rijkaard then added that they had to “lift their heads up and end the season as well as they can”.

He ended by rejecting suggestions that this team is a failure. “It is all too easy just to attack everyone. This squad has fought, and they deserve help and also respect. We don’t want to reduce ourselves to words and conclusions that will only cause more hurt”.
Rijkaard: “It is a complicated and difficult moment”
Next training, Thursday at 11.00
As scheduled, the Barça first team will not train on Wednesday, and will instead get back to work on Thursday at 11.00. The next fixture for Frank Rijkaard’s side will be on Sunday at the Camp Nou, against Valencia, with the kick off at seven o’clock in the evening.

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