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02.10.2007 23:46

Rijkaard eager to settle games earlier

Vanessa Forns

Frank Rijkaard was delighted with Tuesday night’s win in Stuttgart, but feels that in Champions League games like this the team needs to take its early opportunities and not leave things until late.

The Barça coach was not happy with everything he witnessed at the Gottlieb Daimler. “I think we started the game well and created plenty of chances” he said. “But there were times when we were playing the ball around the outside of their area and giving Stuttgart the chance to build up their confidence, and they play very direct football.”

Said Rijkaard “we had some great players out there on the pitch … but we need to get shots in then get back into position. We need to kill off the game as quickly as possible and we didn’t do that.”

Injuries to Puyol and Márquez

”It was important to get a good result here” said Frank Rijkaard, who was not happy to lose defenders Puyol and Márquez to injury. “Luckily, the injury ‘Puyi' picked up is nothing serious. Hopefully he’ll be back very soon. But Márquez will need some tests tomorrow.”

Delighted with Valdés, Iniesta and Abidal

The Barça manager was especially impressed by the work done by Iniesta in Germany. “The only thing he can’t do is play in goal” he joked. “He is a very important player, very intelligent, because he can read everybody’s positions on the field of play. He was one of the best today, as was Abidal, who also did a grand job at centre back.” Rijkaard also singled out Víctor Valdés for praise after the keeper produced a string of quality saves.

Happy with Ronaldinho

Rijkaard also spoke about the performance put in by the Brazilian international. “Ronaldinho held out very well for the whole game, and played an important part in Puyol’s goal. I am delighted for him.”
Rijkaard eager to settle games earlier
Next training session on Thursday
The first team has been given the day off on Wednesday and will be expected back for training at 18.00 Thursday. Rijkaard said this short break was a reward for the tremendous effort the players put into the game against Stuttgart. The next game for Barcelona is a home fixture at the Camp Nou on Sunday against Atlético Madrid.

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