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06.09.2007 14:22

Márquez:” We’re still hurting”.

David Puig

Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, Márquez admitted that the team are still hurting from letting last season’s league title slip through their fingers. The Mexican believes that Barça are among the favourites to win the league this season.

The Barça players are still upset about the way they failed to clinch the league title last season. Rafa Márquez told reporters today (Thursday): “It’s true that we still haven’t assimilated the way we let the last league title escape us. I agree with my team-mate Deco that we gave it away. What happened last season demands even more of us now. I believe we’ve got a strong enough squad to aspire to the league title but that has to be proved day in and day out and match by match.

Understanding for Joan Laporta

Márquez fully understands recent statements made by Joan Laporta in which the Barça president expressed caution as to Barça’s chances of winning the league and asserted that the team still had to improve in order to be a firm candidate: “The president doesn’t want to go through the same thing again and neither do we. I put myself in his shoes and I understand him perfectly. We’re gradually getting into our best form, but this year the demands on us all, starting with us, will be high”.

Not worried by the subs bench

QM3D0432.jpgThe quality in depth of the current squad means that there’s a lot of competition for places, and in defence there are many players fighting for a place in the starting line-up. Márquez was in the team for last Sunday’s game against Athletic Club Bilbao but was on the subs bench for the opening match against Racing Santander. He’s relaxed about this and assured reporters that he’s ready to be a sub: “I have no problem in being a sub when it’s necessary. We have a great squad with a lot of competition and a place in the starting line-up is at stake in every training session. Obviously, I would do everything I can to gain the manager’s confidence but it wouldn’t be a problem at all for me to be on the subs bench”.

Advice for Giovani Dos Santos

Márquez has a good relationship with his fellow-countryman Giovani Dos Santos. Since the young forward broke into the first team scene, Márquez has become his mentor and friend, on and off the pitch: “I always try to help Giovanni and the advice I give him is to keep his feet on the ground and work hard day in and day out to be a better player and a better person. He’s a great footballer with an extraordinary future. It’s logical that other clubs are interested in him. I think the Board would do well to work to keep him at Barça. He’s a player that can bring us a lot of joy”.
Márquez:” We’re still hurting”.

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International break bad for team
Márquez admitted that the international break is an unfortunate interruption after the good performance against Athletic Club: “It’s not good for us. It would be better if the league continued and we could all work together, but we all have to fulfil our national team obligations. Let’s hope we come back in perfect condition so we don’t lose the good rhythm we had last Sunday”. Márquez has been called up by Mexico manager Hugo Sánchez for the match against Brazil on 12th September.

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