Rijkaard demands sacrifice to breathe life into Barcelona

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Barcelona's manager, Frank Rijkaard, has accused his team of a lack of commitment following Thursday's 1-1 draw at Valladolid that leaves his side four points behind the La Liga leaders, Real Madrid, going into this weekend's games. Barça host Real Betis tomorrow. Real travel to ninth-placed Sevilla this evening.

"We played all right in the first half, but in the second we were disorganised and there was no sense of us being a team," said Rijkaard, whose team host Rangers next week in the Champions' League.

"We have to sacrifice ourselves more when we don't have the ball, run harder, do the dirty work and play for the team."

Real, who thrashed sixth-placed Valencia 5-1 in midweek, continue to be depleted through injury. Midfielder Wesley Sneijder is out of contention today, as are the Argentine striker, Gonzalo Higuain, Arjen Robben and Pepe.

Sevilla, whose loss of their manager Juande Ramos to Tottenham was followed by a 4-3 midweek defeat at Atletico Madrid, hope to have Frédéric Kanouté back in action to face Real, after a groin injury. Kanoute scored a hat-trick against Real when the two sides met in the Spanish Super Cup final at the start of the season.

Valencia have a new manager, Ronald Koeman, after he signed a two and a half year deal yesterday, but he will not be in charge for this evening's visit to Mallorca. The Dutchman, who left PSV Eindhoven this week, will take charge of his first game when Valencia host Rosenborg in the Champions' League on Tuesday.

In the match of the weekend in Italy, Juventus, third in Serie A, host leaders Internazionale tomorrow. Juve's Alessandro Del Piero looks likely to return, alongside David Trezeguet, who scored a hat-trick against Empoli in midweek.

Comments