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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 13, 2007

Messi backs Rijkaard to resolve poor away form

MADRID, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has backed coach Frank Rijkaard to resolve the side's poor away form in the Primera Liga, which threatens to undermine their campaign.

Rijkaard has borne the brunt of the criticism in the Spanish media after Barca put up little resistance in their 2-0 defeat at modest Getafe on Saturday.

They have collected only six points from a possible 18 on their travels this season and sit four points behind leaders Real Madrid, in third place.

'Rijkaard has the maturity to find solutions to what is happening to us, and he will take decisions for the good of the team,' Messi told sports daily Mundo Deportivo on Tuesday.

'Away from home we will have to play a different way if we are to break this run of bad results, and our mentality will have to change.

'Football isn't enough.'

Rijkaard has admitted that a change is needed to reverse their fortunes outside the Nou Camp, and hinted at modifications to their famed forward line, ahead of their King's Cup first leg away to Alcoyano.

'We aren't talking about quality but of mentality. The forwards have to work as well. When we lose the ball not everyone works the same,' he was quoted as saying in the Spanish media on Tuesday.

'In matches away from home there have been players who haven't performed to their full potential. We need sacrifice and team work. It is clear the moment to act has arrived, but we have to do it carefully.'

Barca President Joan Laporta has backed Rijkaard to turn the situation round.

'It is a technical problem with the team and Rijkaard has our full support to take the measures necessary to resolve it.'

Barca are away to Segunda B (Third division) Alcoyano in the first leg of their King's Cup last 32 round tie, later on Tuesday.

They will be without players called up for international duty such as Brazil's Ronaldinho and Argentina's Messi.