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20.10.2007 22:57

Rijkaard: Villarreal were superior

Vanessa Forns

Frank Rijkaard recognised that FC Barcelona's first defeat of the season in the league came against a Villarreal side that he believes were better than the Blaugrana in every position on the night.

"Villarreal have played very well and were better than us," he said. "Their players showed more aggression we did. We have not done our jobs well and everything was too easy for them." Despite that, the Dutchman added: "We showed a good attitude, but we cannot leave so much space for the other team." Barça were beaten 3-1 thanks to two penalties from Marcos Senna and an early strike from Santi Cazorla.

Lack of freshness

Reflecting on the way the game developed, Rijkaard said that he regretted that his team were missing some "freshness" after the international break and believes that was why his players made a slow start to the encounter. "In the opening stages the disputed balls were always going to Villarreal," he continued. "We knew that at 2-0 we would have to work very hard and the team reacted in a bid to change the result, but in the end it was not possible."

Unity and quality

The Barça boss then stated that teamwork was crucial in encounters such as this. "In games like this we have work as a unit, contain them at the back and then use our quality to achieve something," he explained. "It was not like that tonight and I think that Villarreal were stronger than us in very position on the pitch. It is because of that reason that Villarreal were able to win the game."

Rijkaard is not usually one to look for excuses after a defeat and he was not keen to start after this match. "It is a reality that throughout the past two weeks we have practically been unable to train as a squad," he added. "Besides, we have come up against a side that were well prepared to play against us."

Deco’s injury

Away from the defeat, the injury to Deco was another negative note from the evening. The Portuguese star suffered a tear to a muscle in his left thigh and could be out of action for four or five weeks. "The injury to Deco is a shame," Rijkaard said. "He is a very important player for us. I expect him to be back playing again soon."
Rijkaard: Villarreal were superior
Krkic’s goal
Bojan Krkic became the youngest player in the history of FC Barcelona to score a goal in the league for the club as he slotted home the Blaugrana's only strike of the evening in the 24th minute. "I am especially happy for him," Rijkaard explained. "He scored a great goal and has showed that he is a player with a great future ahead of him. He can grow with us. I am very pleased for him."

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