Rijkaard bemoans negativity
Frank Rijkaard believes it is 'a pity' that English sides adopt a more defensive philosophy in Europe.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 01/05/08 8:33am
Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard believes it is 'a pity' that Premier League sides adopt a more defensive philosophy in the UEFA Champions League.
Rijkaard's men exited the Champions League on Tuesday evening as Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes' stunning strike proved the difference over the two legs.
United defended for large periods against Barca at both Camp Nou and Old Trafford, demonstrating impressive resilience to absorb their opposition's dominant pressure.
And Rijkaard has expressed his belief that English clubs fail to replicate the attacking ethos of the Premier League in Europe.
"I think the level of English teams is very high," said Rijkaard.
"If it were not for the fact two had to play each other [Liverpool beat Arsenal in the quarter-finals] you could easily have had four teams in the semi-finals as it is very difficult to beat them.
"They are very strong and very disciplined, really very tough to beat.
"I think they have a lot more to give on the pitch to the public. It is strange to see English teams defending for their lives in Europe and trying to win games on the counter-attack.
"They can do a lot more than that. They have their own spirit and can play football on the front foot.
"I see it on the TV in the Premier League. But you don't see it in the Champions League.
"In European games they all get behind the ball when they lose it, they are very organised and try to counter-attack. It is a pity. It is not the most beautiful way of football."
Meanwhile, Barca midfielder Xavi believes United were fortunate to progress to Moscow's final on 21st May.
He said: "United never dominated the two games and we deserved to reach the final. This was a big disappointment as we had it in our grasp.
"We were better and it's difficult to accept losing. People talked up a battle between Lionel Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo.
"But I played better than the Portuguese player in the two games. It just came down to a solo goal."