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04.05.2008 22:03

Rijkaard: “The team showed great heart”

Vanessa Forns

After the 6-0 thrashing of Valencia in the Nou Camp, Frank Rijkaard singled out the heart shown by his team in the wake of their Champions League elimination.

The first team went into this game on the back of a very disappointing elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Manchester United. Despite this, the players showed that they were capable of regrouping and finishing the season in the best possible way and overcoming Valencia with a sound thrashing. “The team showed a good attitude, heart and pride. They showed the right mentality at a difficult time”, said Rijkaard.

Early goal was key

This Sunday Barça ended their poor run of four consecutive games without scoring. The Barcelona manager recalled that in the game against the same opponents in the cup, the team had more shots on goal and more possession and so pointed to the early goal, as always, being the key: “Every team needs a goal to give confidence and security. It seemed to me that they wanted to hold out for a 0-0 draw, but scoring so early opens up the possibilities to score more”.

Muted goal celebrations

Despite scoring six goals, the players’ celebrations were somewhat muted. “We’re happy to have won but not with the season as a whole. For this reason we were a bit more reserved. I think the supporters’ opinion was the same because at 3-0 the Nou Camp was silent. Despite all of this, the supporters have to see that the players have been true to their philosophy of how to play the game”, added the manager.

Praise for Messi

Frank Rijkaard had some words of praise for Lionel Messi: “Messi played a great game. He dictated the pace and the forwards and the rest of the team responded accordingly”.

Deco and Eto'o will miss the ‘classic’

Speaking about Eto’o and Deco missing Wednesday’s game in the Berabeu following their fifth yellow cards in today’s game, the Barcelona manager said “it’s a pity and for sure we will miss two important players for this game”.

Exercise in self-criticism

Finally, Frank Rijkaard admitted to being “self-critical” with the results this season: “We were knocked out of two semi-finals and despite everything the team showed a good attitude. It’s disappointing to be eliminated, and I think that with a little more luck we could have played in a final. The team always wanted it but sometimes these things happen. One thing is the potential on paper, another is the reality”.
Rijkaard: “The team showed great heart”
Monday – training at 11.00
The squad will return to training on Monday morning at 11.00. As well as recovering their strengths from the Valencia game, the players and coaching staff will start preparations for Wednesday in the Bernabeu.

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