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14.12.2007 14:06

“Psychologically it would be an important win”

Sandra Sarmiento

Frank Rijkaard does not feel that the next two games will decide the league but does think that a win against Valencia would be a huge boost for the team’s confidence ahead of the Madrid fixture.

The Champions League can be forgotten until February and Barça’s attention now returns to the league, with 8 days including two crunch games. The first offers a chance to finally overcome the team’s poor away form and raise confidence ahead of the classic encounter with Real Madrid. The side looked good at Montjuic, and now it is time to follow on from that with a good performance at Mestalla. “It is an important game”, says Frank Rijkaard, who considers the potential three points in Valencia of significant psychological value. “A good result will give us confidence ahead of the next match”.

The need for concentration

In the last two games, against Deportivo and Stuttgart, Barça have conceded goals in the first few minutes. They have managed to sort things out on both occasions and win the match, but they won’t have it so easy against Valencia So the boss is keen to “start the game well, strong. We have to have the right mentality. Valencia is a famous team and they will be highly motivated”.

Up against Koeman

entreno141207_x7x.jpgThe Mestalla match will reunite two familiar faces. Ronald Koeman is going through tough times, with Valencia only winning just one of their last six games, but Rijkaard is sure all will come well: “I have a good relationship with Ronald. We have played a lot of games together and that always generates something special and a lot of respect. He is a winning coach, as he was as a footballer. He always wants to win and he is a strong person”.

Touré, one yellow from suspension

Rijkaard has regained some of his troops, and has more options in the middle of the park to play with, and picking a first eleven is going to be tricky. But he will be concerned about Ivorian Touré Yayá, for whom one more yellow card would mean missing the Madrid match. “I will have to think carefully about it but these are details that need to be considered”, said the Barça manager.

Ronaldinho’s leadership

Ronnie is back in the first team and has refound his goalscoring touch. “He has improved but he still needs to focus on getting stronger. He has reacted well and he has always been an important member of the squad and will continue to be so” said Rijkaard.

“Psychologically it would be an important win”

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Capello and England
There is a chance that Fabio Capello will be named the new England manager today, and when asked about this, Rijkaard said “he is a good manager, he has won a lot. He has always been successful and I understand why they have contracted him. He could go a long way with the English national team”.

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