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Barcelona Will Bounce Back, Says Rijkaard
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Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard said the European champions would bounce back from their bruising Club World Cup defeat.

The overwhelming favourites dominated the early stages of Sunday's final only to be floored 1-0 by a late sucker-punch from Brazil's Internacional.

"By losing tonight this is going to generate something even better," Rijkaard said.

"We have to really overcome this situation and by doing that we are going to improve."

Barcelona were the last to arrive after a run of domestic and European matches, and repeatedly complained of jet-lag and lack of conditioning.

Rijkaard admitted the Spanish giants had prepared poorly for the tournament and said they would learn from their defeat.

"As a coach I feel really sorry. All the players did a great job but I would say Inter were better prepared tonight," he said.

It was the second time in two years that European favourites have been shocked in the club final after Sao Paulo's 1-0 win over Liverpool last year.

Rijkaard said he felt bitter about the defeat and hoped Barcelona's fans would understand.

"This isn't a failure from the team, this is my failure," Rijkaard said.

"Of course we wanted to win but it was difficult to keep our motivation high and it's difficult to keep pleasing our fans. Maybe we can learn from this."

Star player Ronaldinho, nominated for a record third consecutive World Player of the Year award late yesterday, said Barcelona would analyse the defeat and learn from their mistakes.

Ronaldinho and Deco ran riot in the 4-0 semi-final against Club America but were frequently crowded off the ball by Internacional.

"Inter played very well defensively and now we have to win the Champions League to come here again," Ronaldinho said.

"They scored with the only chance they had. We're going to analyse the match and we'll try to learn from this."

Inter coach Abel Braga said the South Americans had done their homework on Barca, studying matches against Chelsea, Werder Bremen and Real Madrid.

They restricted Barca's potent attack with diligent marking and scored on the break through substitute Adriano on 82 minutes.

"This is the best moment of my career," Braga said. "Only two things could beat this: winning again next year, and becoming the head coach of Brazil and winning the World Cup."

Inter became the sixth Brazilian intercontinental champions including the former Europe-South America clash played since 1960.

(China Daily December 19, 2006)

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