FC Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal wants his players to build on their win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
FC Barcelona extended their impressive run in this season's UEFA Champions League to seven wins from seven games after a 2-1 win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the BayArena thanks to goals from substitutes Javier Saviola and Marc Overmars.
Van Gaal determined
Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal was upbeat after seeing his team come from a goal down to take all three points and was delighted with his side's winning start to the second group stage, but also looked further ahead. "It is a great start to the group but it is our goal to reach the final of the Champions League and to win the competition.
The results on the way are important but we want to win this competition," he said.
Subs on target
The fact that his side’s two second-half goals both came from replacements did not mean that he may have chosen the wrong starting lineup. "I don't think I made any mistakes choosing the team," he said. "Leverkusen are a typical German side who are physically strong, and I had to keep that in mind and field my side appropriately. At half-time I had to risk more and therefore I brought on Saviola and [Juan] Riquelme. If I had sent them on earlier they would not have played as well as they did."
Van Gaal also refused to accept that his substitutions were responsible for Barcelona's win. "The quality of the players was the key factor in this game and of course you always need a little bit of luck," he said. "I told my players after the match against Real Madrid [CF] that if they continued playing in the same manner they would force luck to turn our way."
In contrast, Leverkusen coach Klaus Toppmöller was disappointed with the result after seeing his side take the lead through Dimitar Berbatov's powerful header. "We played a very good first half and closed Barcelona down really well. We knew exactly what lineup they would field, hardly let them have a chance and deserved to take the lead," he said. "However, after the break the mistakes we made were punished savagely."
The coach refused to blame defender Diego Placente, who gave the ball away in midfield which led to Barcelona's first goal and later conceded a penalty that goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt saved. "Diego is likely to make the blunders he did today once every ten years, but that is the story of our season so far. One player has always made a mistake and we have always been punished."
'Not over yet'
Despite the home defeat in the opening match of Group A, Toppmöller was confident that his side can bounce back, saying: "It is a setback but it is not over yet. Just remember last season we were hammered by Juventus [FC] in the opening match but none the less we went on to win the group.
I have always said that everything is possible in this group and I am sticking to my opinion."