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03.02.2010 14:45

Keita denies referee favouritism

David Puig

Keita has assured reporters that Barça are top of the Spanish league table through their own efforts and flatly denied they have received any preferential treatment from the referees.

Speaking at a press conference after training on Wednesday, Seydou Keita was determined to make it clear that Barça are league leaders on merit and not due to any supposed ‘help’ from the referees – as has been suggested from some sources in Madrid: “Barça are ahead of Real Madrid because we are better and not because of the referees. I don’t know if someone’s trying to unsettle the referees with these comments. We shouldn’t worry about all this”.

2010-02-03_ENTRENO_092.JPGIndeed, Keita insisted that the referees don’t go out to intentionally favour any team. “They’re only human and they try and do their job without wishing to help any particular team”. At the same time he warned that the five-point lead that Barça currently enjoys over second-placed Real Madrid could disappear at any moment: “It seems like a lot of points but it’s a small difference. The season is very long and we have to keep on working hard”.

A place in the starting eleven

After missing five matches due to his participation with Mali in the Africa Cup, Keita recognizes that he will have to win his place back in the starting line-up: “I played a lot of matches before the Africa Cup and now I have to earn a place. That’s no problem. Everybody has the ability to play and bring something to the team. If I play I’ll give 100% and if not it doesn’t matter. We’re a team and everybody has chances to play”.

Glad of a rest

2010-02-03_ENTRENO_065.JPGKeita missed the Sporting match due to suspension and by this weekend will have been out of action for a fortnight. In his case the rest has done him good: “It’s been good for me as I’ve been able to recover from some niggles that I had in my knee. I’m perfect now and available to the manager. However, it’s true that the weeks without football seem very long”.
Images: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
Images: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)

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Unfair punishment for Togo
Keita also expressed his disgust at the ban handed down by the Confederation of African Football to Togo, which means that Togo will miss the next two editions of the tournament: "It’s not normal. Personally I hope they lift the ban because it’s not fair. Footballers go to the Africa Cup to play not to die”.

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