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07.11.2007 23:48

Rijkaard: "It is a step forward"

Anna Segura

Frank Rijkaard was pleased after seeing FC Barcelona take a giant stride towards qualfiying for the first knockout round of the Champions League with victory over Rangers on Tuesday night in Camp Nou.

Goals from Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi pushed the Blaugrana three points ahead of their Scottish opponents in Group E and made them firm favourites to finish in first place. As well as expressing his delight at the attitude of his players, the Dutch coach believed that his side were superior and that the win "was a step forward" in the growth of the team.

Good mentality

fcbrangers1_x4x.jpgThe game developed as Carles Puyol had said that the Blaugrana hoped it would in the pre-match press conference and Rijkaard was happy that Barça were able to make a breakthrough after just six minutes. "It was important to score quickly," the coach said. "Rangers played with a lot of defenders and therefore it was more complicated for us. But the team showed a good mentality and we went after a third goal, although unfortunately we could not find one."


fcb-rangers_01_x4x.jpgDespite the good play and the strong mentality, Rijkaard admitted his only disappointment was the fact that another goal could not be scored. "At 2-0 we we were supreior all over the pitch. The only thing we can regret if that we could not score again. This was a game to win 5-0. That is what we want when the opposition stay in their own half like that, but I understand that they did not want to take any risks."
Change and rest

Rijkaard explained that Rafa Márquez suffered a slight knock in the warm-up and was forced to withdraw and be replaced by Lilian Thuram, although the coach was keen to stress that it was not serious. "He is not injured, but will need treatment to recover physically," he explained.

Ronaldinho had another impressive game before being substituted 14 minutes from the end to be replaced by Bojan Krkic and the Blaugrana boss admitted that he was very pleased with the Brazilian's form. "He played an important role as he had a hand in both goals and is growing stronger with each game," Rijkaard said. Fans also welcomed the player's return to his best by chanting his name before he went off.
Rijkaard:  “It is a step forward“
Laporta pleased with strong position
Barça president Joan Laporta was a happy man after Barça's win over Rangers as he stated that "it leaves us in a very favourable position". Above all though, it was that "Barça is playing as a team" that the club supremo enjoyed the most. "They worked very hard and we were pleased to score the first goal early on," he added.

Laporta also expressed his delight at the supporters' support for Ronaldinho as his name was chanted after another strong display. "Ronaldinho is a reference for us," he explained. "He is one of the best players in the world and he plays for us and will do so for many years."

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