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03.11.2007 14:35

“The group is confident”

Sandra Sarmiento

Despite the draw with Valladolid, Frank Rijkaard is sure the team will react in the correct fashion against Betis on Sunday. “You sometimes get disappointments but the group is confident and we have every chance of having a great season”.

“I am not worried or frightened. We have to accept the situation, train, work and see how the team responds. This morning there was a good atmosphere and we are preparing well for the game”, said Frank Rijkaard, commenting on the team’s poor form in matches away from the Camp Nou. “The group wants to be confident and is confident. You sometimes get disappointments but the group is confident and we have every chance of having a great season.” It is hard to draw conclusions after just ten games.

The two faces of Barça

QM3D2051.jpgBarça have been on fine form at home, but the results away to sides like Racing, Osasuna and Valladolid have been poor. “These games are based on physical struggles and we have to try to be more aggressive. Sometimes we have to forget the beautiful game and fight like our opponents do”. That is what the team might need away from home, but things change when it comes to playing in front of their own fans, when “teams play defensively. They give us all the possession and what we have to do is score as early as possible in order to open up spaces”.

Loyal to the system

Rijkaard went on to say that he has no intention of changing Barça’s trademark approach to football. “We always want to play attractive football and win. But sometimes away from home the less famous teams forget all about constructive football and base things on a constant battle. We need to change our mentality for times like that, work harder and be more organised. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to play attractive football. The beautiful game is Barça’s philosophy. On Sunday we are playing at home and we need to play to our own style”.

All about Betis

Seventeenth with just 8 points, Betis are in a critical situation, and were soundly beaten midweek at the Ruiz de Lopera against Osasuna, and José León had to face the press to confirm that Héctor Cúper’s job is not under threat. This concerns Rijkaard, as he knows tomorrow’s visitors will be more eager than ever to get a result against Barça. He said “it’s true that Betis are having a hard time of it, but we shouldn’t feel overconfident. We’ll be playing a well organised side and they won’t be giving us too much space”. Betis have only conceded 4 goals away from the Ruiz de Lopera. “It is very important to score as soon as possible and then kill the game off” he said.

Messi and Ronaldinho’s form

Rijkaard didn’t want to talk too much about the way Messi played midweek in Valladolid, saying “I agree that in the last game Messi was not the major presence we are used to seeing but he has always played to a high level and these things happen from time to time”. As for the improvements in the way Ronaldinho is performing, the Barça boss said “he has to show that he can continue to improve. Now we have to demand even more because of his talent, his quality. But he is getting into his rhythm and improving”.

“The group is confident”

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Changes to the squad
Henry and Abidal have both recovered from minor injuries and return to the side, while Milito has been dropped. Rijkaard wanted him to get some rest. “Henry and Abidal have recovered. Abidal is fully fit though Henry still has a few problems. Milito has been participating very well but has taken quite a few knocks and this seems like a good moment for him to get some rest”.

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