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03.12.2007 10:55

Neeskens: “We’re on the right track”

Sandra Sarmiento

Frank Rijkaard’s assistant is satisfied with the way Barça have played in the last two matches and is upbeat about the immediate future. He believes that the results in December will have a big influence on Barça’s possibilities in the league.

In an interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat, Johan Neeskens analyses the derby game against Espanyol and discusses Barça’s current situation: “We demonstrated that we are capable of playing well away from home. It’s a shame about the draw against Espanyol because we deserved to win that match, mainly due to the chances we created. We’re happy with the team’s performance”.

Did Barça lack the mental strength to kill off the match or was it due to the fact that they haven’t won an away match for some time?

“I don’t think so. It was a pity we didn’t score a second goal…both posts, Xavi’s shot, Bojan’s header and then Messi’s chance. We were playing well and the only thing missing was the second goal”.

It was a confirmation of the improvement shown against Lyon. Is that the road to follow?

lio-fcb01.jpg“In the last two games there was a big difference in the way we played compared to Santander and Pamplona, where we also drew away from home. In my opinion, there’s big difference and we’re on the right track”.

Is Messi the player that makes the difference right now in this team?

“Recently, Messi has been playing very well. He’s scored a lot of goals and the first half on Saturday was a demonstration that he’s a great player”.

The match against Espanyol was Bojan’s second in the starting line-up. Do you think he’s playing like a veteran, as if the responsibility didn’t affect him?

fcb-recre0708_x16x.jpg“It’s incredible what Bojan is doing. He’s a player with many qualities. At the age of just 17 he could be a great player. When he’s played he’s performed very well. We’re very happy and he has demonstrated that he has many qualities. Let’s hope he can maintain this standard”.

There’s been a lot of talk about Ronaldinho being on the subs’ bench. Was his attitude exemplary in the Montjuïc?

esp_fcb2.jpg“Ronaldinho has taken this as a decision of the coaches. He’s still highly motivated and has always been ready to come on (he also did against Lyon). He’s really up for it and wants to demonstrate that he‘s also important for the team. ‘Ronnie’ continues to be a fundamental player for Barça. He can still give a lot to the team. This can motivate him to demonstrate that he is still one of the best in the world”.

Real Madrid have a four-point lead. Does this worry you?

“No. There are a lot of matches ahead. They won but I only see my team and, especially, the improvement in recent matches. We have to carry on working hard. Let’s hope we can go forward with a lot of motivation in the upcoming matches”.

Could December be a decisive month for Barça’s league aspirations?

“Yes. Because there are important matches such as Deportivo, Valencia and, finally, Real Madrid. If we can win those matches, I’ll see the world in a different way”.
Neeskens: “We’re on the right track”

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Third place for Messi
Neeskens also commented on Messi’s third place in the Golden Ball awards: “It’s always good to be among the top three. Everyone has their own opinion. For me, Messi should be number one. All three players have done well for their teams. Kaká has scored a lot of goals for Milan in the Champions League. But I see what Messi means for the team and in my opinion he’s the best”.

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