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28.10.2007 22:18

Rijkaard: “Winning these games is fundamental”

Vanessa Forns

Frank Rijkaard accepts that his team didn’t play a great game against Almeria. He praised his team’s “fighting spirit” and believes the victory was fundamental to their league campaign.

Speaking at the press conference after Sunday’s game at Nou Camp, the Barça coach believed beating teams like Almeria is “fundamental, mainly because it wasn’t easy.” Rijkaard says he feels happier after seeing Barça “fight, hold their ground and achieve a victory”.

Praise for rival

On Almeria, Frank Rijkaard admitted that their rival had “made it difficult for us”. The Dutch coach claimed that the Andalucian team “had played a good game”.

A more vertical game

Leading up to the game, Frank Rijkaard had asked his players for “a more vertical game,” so as to make the most of Henry’s skills. The coach was satisfied with how his players had interpreted this. “They looked for Henry more, and they created more chances”.

Substituting Ronaldinho

When asked why he had brought off Ronaldinho for Messi, Frank Rijkaard was clear: “The team had worked hard, and sometimes you decide to make a change. I have great confidence in Ronaldinho. He’s very committed and has my full support. There are a lot of games left, and I’m very happy with him”.

Praise for Iniesta and Giovani

Whilst he doesn’t normally single out players for praise, Frank Rijkaard made an exception for Andrés Iniesta and Giovani Dos Santos. “They did a great job, and Giovani was involved in both goals”.

Messi comes on

Finally, Frank Rijkaard confirmed that Messi wasn’t in the starting line-up because he intended to rest him. “When it was 1-0, I made him warm up and then I brought him on and, luckily, it worked out well.”
Rijkaard: “Winning these games is fundamental”
Laporta, happy with Henry’s goal
After the 2-0 victory against Almería, Joan Laporta was especially happy to see Henry store the first goal of the game and his first in Nou Camp: “I’m very happy. It was important for Henry’s confidence to get his first goal in the stadium.” The Barça president believes the best thing about the game was that the result “gives us three necessary points”, yet he also believes the team “needs to work harder”.

Joan Laporta and believes that the number of games Barça has played is taking its toll. For this reason, he thinks the first team players “have to work hard and be intelligent because there will be moments when they lack strength”.

Finally, Joan Laporta made reference to Almeria, who he believes “had a good game”. “It’s the type of team we have problems scoring against, because they close down a lot”.

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