Barca pay the price for early errors, says Rijkaard
Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard said lack of
concentration and poor finishing were responsible for his side's 4-2
defeat against Spanish title rivals Real Madrid on Sunday.
"Their first two goals came far too easy," the Dutchman told a news
conference at the Bernabeu.
"The difference between the two sides was that we struggled to convert
our chances, while they found it very easy to score."
Barcelona top the Primera Liga with 69 points from 31 matches. Real are
second on 63 points, 11 clear of third-placed Sevilla.
Knowing that nothing less than victory would keep alive their hopes of
depriving Barca of the title, Real flooded forward into attack and were
rewarded with a two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes.
Zinedine Zidane helped himself to the first after Ronaldo had dinked in
a neat cross from the right hand side of the area and the Brazilian
ended his recent goal drought with a simple header at the far post.
Although Samuel Eto'o pulled one back for Barca before the half hour,
Raul restored Real's advantage on the stroke of halftime.
England striker Michael Owen made it 4-1 after the break before Barca
forward Ronaldinho ended the scoring with a sweetly struck free kick for
The win left Real six points behind Barca with seven games left to play,
but the Catalans would win the league if the two teams ended on the same
number of points thanks to their superior scoring record in head-to-head
"Real started with a great deal of spirit," said Rijkaard. "They worked
hard and looked for the direct route to our goal. We knew they had a lot
of quality but we made too many mistakes and with more concentration we
could have avoided them.
"We have to do all we can to get a good result in our next match because
the league is far from over."
Real coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo said that although he was delighted with
the win, his side could not afford to relax as they still depended on
the Catalans slipping up again if they were to deprive their rivals of
the league title.
"Barcelona continue to have the upper hand and still depend on
themselves to win the league," said the Brazilian. "We have to keep
playing like this so that we can be close to them. If they had won today
the league would have been over."