Deco’s Interview with Julio Gomes Filho:
Now our chance of winning the Primera División is gone, our one and only priority is to reach the Champions League final. The good game we had against Manchester United last week showed everyone we are capable of beating them and booking our ticket to Moscow. We played a very complete game. The only thing missing was obviously a goal on the score sheet. Even so, a goalless draw is not a bad result because another draw in Manchester will put us in the final or at least take us to penalties.
Lots of people criticized Manchester United for playing defensively at Camp Nou, but if you look at their line-up, it was more attacking than in many of their other games. I guess they weren’t actually able to attack us, because we pressed them very well and controlled possession. Their only option was to counterattack, which they tried with Cristiano Ronaldo, but our defence was very alert and marked him well. It was surprising that he missed the penalty, but these things happen in football. It doesn’t overshadow the magnificent season he’s had.
I think I played a good game. It was an enormous relief to play after a long absence and not feel anything wrong. The injury is healed and I am ready for Tuesday’s match. Frank Rijkaard has shown his confidence in me many times before. If he decides to include me in the Old Trafford lineup I will do my best to get to my third Champions League final.
The second leg will be a completely different game because they will try to win the ball and put pressure on us. They need to score, so they will go for it. We need to hang tight during the first 15 minutes and avoid giving it away easily. We must be 100 per cent focused, especially at the start, when their supporters will lift them a lot.
I don’t think the weekend’s league results will have the slightest influence in the semi-final. It is true Manchester United lost an important high-stakes game against Chelsea, but we lost to Deportivo La Coruña as well. Most of United’s starters were benched because of the Barcelona game, so they will be fresh and fit. When a semi-final like this comes around, everybody forgets what has been and focuses only on the match.
Photo: Getty Images