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Rijkaard wants to set an example

Published: Tuesday 7 March 2006, 3.14CET
FC Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has demanded to see the best of both his players and their supporters when Chelsea FC come calling on Tuesday night.
by Lucas Brown
from Barcelona
Published: Tuesday 7 March 2006, 3.14CET

Rijkaard wants to set an example

FC Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has demanded to see the best of both his players and their supporters when Chelsea FC come calling on Tuesday night.

Frank Rijkaard believes the high-profile encounter between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC is a good chance for the Catalan team and their supporters to show respect and set an example. The Dutch coach was reacting to the tense build-up to Tuesday's first knockout round tie, which saw José Mourinho met by a small number of angry fans at Barcelona airport. Looking ahead to the game, Rijkaard is also confident his side have learned from last season and will progress to the next round.

Advantage Barça
An own goal from John Terry and a header from Samuel Eto'o gave Barça a 2-1 advantage going into the second leg at Camp Nou, and Rijkaard is sure his players will make amends for last season when they were eliminated by the London club at Stamford Bridge. "I have two dreams," Rijkaard said. "As a coach, I want to win the match and go through to the next round. As a person, I think this is a good time to speak out against all kinds of aggression and abuse. I hope the Barcelona supporters can be an example of fair play and give a round of applause when the Chelsea team and José Mourinho come out.

'Show respect'
"We have to remember that Mourinho used to work at Barça, he has fond memories of this club, so the best thing that can happen is that nobody is insulting towards him or his team. The two things are compatible, the sporting and the human. I saw the incidents at the airport on television and what happened to Mourinho was not good. This is a great chance for us to show that we respect the Chelsea team. It is an aspect in football that has to be improved. We have the result in our favour, but every game is a different story."

Messi motivation
Rafael Márquez has recovered from a knock following Saturday's 3-2 home victory against RC Deportivo La Coruña, and will retain his place alongside Carles Puyol in central defence. "He is fine," confirmed Rijkaard, who added that Lionel Messi is ready for the occasion despite becoming the centre of attention after the first match. "I have absolutely no worries about him," Rijkaard said. "I think pressure motivates him."

Taking flak
Mourinho explained that he consciously walked out before his players on their arrival in the Catalan capital to take the pressure off them, and believes his plan worked. "When I was the first to leave the airport, I knew what I was doing," the Portuguese manager said. "After I passed through, the players had no pressure and only had to sign autographs and have photos taken. I left first and the nasty guys followed me. What I will do tomorrow is go out on the pitch first and try to take the 'good' feelings of the crowd and then leave it to the players. They are players with experience and they should be able to handle it, but it is a personal thing and I can't control how they will react."

Positive thinking
Despite being a goal down, Mourinho stated that he is confident before every match: "They have an advantage in the scoreline and a psychological advantage in playing at home, but things can always change in football. Before the game I always think positive." Frank Lampard came through a one-hour training session at Camp Nou and is expected to be selected after Mourinho said the England midfielder would play if he suffered no reaction to his hamstring problem. Lampard missed Saturday's 2-1 Premiership win at West Bromwich Albion FC. Chelsea will, however, be without Asier Del Horno, sent off a fortnight ago, and Michael Essien, who sits out both legs.

Last updated: 07/03/06 21.15CET

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