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03.05.2008 14:29

“We have to continue fighting with pride”

Sandra Sarmiento

Rijkaard has admitted to being disappointed in being out of the fight for trophies this season. “The first person responsible for this is me”, said the Dutchman, who added that “the team has always faced up to its responsibilities”.

“If the team hasn’t achieved its goals, then the first person responsible for that is me. I assume the responsibility as manager”. These were the words of Frank Rijkaard before the visit of Valencia; a relaxed and reflective Rijkaard. After being knocked out at the semi-finals of the Champions League, the Dutchman wants to “finish the season in the best possible way”. For this reason he has assured everyone that the team “will fight”. “We have to show that, once again, the team has the motivation and mentality to achieve our goals.”

One goal from the final

030508entrenament_x18x.JPGForm in the league has been somewhat erratic. Rijkaard accepts that. But it’s also true that in the knockout competitions Barça have been just one step away from the finals. “It’s a thin line between success and failure. If we look back, we almost eliminated Man Utd. We were better and the game was decided on a small detail. Against Valencia in the cup, we were eliminated again by just the odd goal. With a little more luck we could have been playing in two finals.”


With no options left for the league title, Barça will fight to the last day for second position. It won’t be easy. Villarreal are four points clear. In assessing the performance of his players in the league this season, Rijkaard said: “We have fought and we have done everything possible but we’ve fallen short”. He added: “I’m happy with the attitude, the mentality and the desire of the players. We’ve had a lot of injuries this season but I’m not looking for excuses. It’s a pity we haven’t been able to do more in the league this season”.

Camp Nou

030508_RIJKAARD.jpgValencia’s arrival follows the Champions League defeat, a defeat which hurt everybody at the club, from players to staff to fans. “I’m not in a position to ask for more from the fans. The people want to see Barça play good football and that’s what we want. We have to fight and then the fans Hill help, as they’ve always done. We’re the ones who have to deliver”.

Back to their beginnings

This is how Frank Rijkaard has assessed Salvador González ‘Voro’, the manager who has recalled Cañizares, Albelda and Angulo for the final run in. Valencia are playing in the Nou Camp in their fight against relegation and the Dutchman is aware that it will be difficult for Barça. “It’s a team that has always managed good results against Barça. A difficult side. They’ve gone back to the beginning with experienced players. Furthermore, statistically, it’s a team that keeps the ball a lot of and doesn’t allow you to get a rhythm going. We need a huge effort to overcome them”.
“We have to continue fighting with pride”

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His future
Rijkaard also spoke about his future: “I speak with Txiki every day. I respect him a lot. It’s an honour to work for Barça and I still have these feelings. We have time to speak honestly and openly. But when you work in a club like this one you can’t do it without dreaming”.

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