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25.08.2007 14:08

Rijkaard: “We’re keen to begin”

Miriam Nadal

With just 24 hours to go before Barça kick off their 2007-08 season, manager Frank Rijkaard has claimed that his team are among the favourites for the league title but that they will have to prove it on the pitch.

Speaking at the first pre-match press conference of the season Frank Rijkaard also told reporters that his players were impatient to get down to business: “We’re keen to begin”. He insisted that the team had to show ambition and work hard for a win in Santander after a highly positive pre-season: “We’ve been working very well and so we’re confident”.

Asked if he sees Barça as the main candidate for the league title he told us: “Yes, we’re one of the favourites but we have to work and demonstrate it every day on the pitch”.

The squad list

archivar_04.jpg“I didn’t have many doubts. I simply chose. My criteria are what I had to choose”. In his first squad list of the competitive season there is no room for Thiago Motta, who was overlooked in favour of Barça B midfielder Marc Crosas. A number of players are also sidelined by injury while Gabi Milito has to serve a match ban hanging over from last season.

“I always have to choose the players and I’ve assessed things position by position. When I have two options, I have to make a choice. Crosas has been working well as has Thiago. But we’ll see. I’ve chosen my list”.

Playing away

250807rijkaard.jpgReferring specifically to Sunday’s match against Racing Santander Rijkaard stressed that the main handicap was the fact of playing away from home: “As with all league matches it’s complicated. This is the first match for Racing as well. There’ll be a lot of club members and plenty of atmosphere and we have to be 100% prepared”.

Rijkaard: “We’re keen to begin”

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Final assessment of the pre-season
Making his final judgement of the pre-season preparations, Rijkaard highlighted three factors. The team had functioned well, the dynamic had been good and the new signings and players promoted from the reserve squad had all fitted in well: “The atmosphere and the attitude are also very good”.

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