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06.08.2007 16:36

Rijkaard seeks more aggression and pressure

David Saura

Frank Rijkaard is aware that his side has no shortage of talent, but speaking to the press today, he has observed that it is still lacking in certain aspects, including team unity and aggression.

Barça may have won three games out of three, but the Barça manager has no intention of resting on his laurels. Of course, it is far too early to draw any conclusions, and several important players have not played yet, but Rijkaard would really like to see a bit more aggressiveness and pressure from his players, along with better team unity and mentality.

WEB_TARDE_04.jpgExplaining exactly what he meant by mentality, the Dutchman said they needed to “work on how to act and how to help your team-mates.” He went on to say that although “we have talent and good players, we have to play with unity. It is especially hard right now because we are still in the pre-season and we don’t want to risk overdoing things.”


He also described how “I like to see an aggressive Barça. We have to grow in that way. It is the key to success. We have to work on aggressiveness and pressure as a team and making sure we don’t leave open spaces. We have to suffer a bit more if want to achieve important things.”

The manager understands the benefits of “talent and fitness. When the players give it all they have, our chances improve.” But although his remarks occasionally sounded quite cutting, Rijkaard insisted that he was not attacking his players, but that this was all a result of “not having been working together for long, and still being in the pre-season”.

Individual praise

WEB_TARDE_12.jpgIn fact, the Dutchman was keen to single out certain players for praise, especially the new signings (Abidal, Touré and Henry), and Giovani and Thuram. The latter appeared alongside him in the press conference, and was described as somebody “who works like a boy. He always wants to win and transmits positive things. He sets an example for the team”.
Rijkaard seeks more aggression and pressure

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Thuram: “The most important thing is to win”
Thuram was the only player to play the full ninety minutes in Beijing, despite having said he is struggling with the time difference. The veteran defender said the most important thing about the pre-season has been that “despite the difference in form between the teams, we were concentrated and played to win.” The arrival of Thierry Henry, he says, has made doing that easier.

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