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Rijkaard warns against complacency with title in sight

Written by: Staff

MADRID, Apr 10 (Reuters) Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has warned his Primera Liga leaders against complacency after they had to come from behind to draw 2-2 at Racing Santander.

Barcelona remain 11 points clear at the top with six games remaining after yesterday's draw, but missed a chance to settle the title at home on the weekend before their Champions League semi-final first leg at AC Milan on April 18.

''We really had to work hard to secure the draw here. If you don't do things well, things don't go your way,'' Rijkaard said after the game.

''I want to win the title as soon as possible and I don't care whether we win it at home or away.'' Henrik Larsson put Barca in front after 18 minutes but within five minutes Racing were 2-1 up as Antonito and Oscar Serrano unsettled the visitors' defence. Samuel Eto'o equalised with his 23rd goal of the campaign soon afterwards.

''We didn't play well,'' Rijkaard said. ''I asked the players to up their performance levels at the break. We gave the ball away too easily and when you push up you give the opposition too many chances on the counter if you lose the ball.'' Real Madrid had failed to put pressure on the leaders on Saturday as they drew 1-1 in the Bernabeu against relegation-threatened Real Sociedad, but captain Carles Puyol denied Barca had eased off as a result.

''We don't go out with a calculator. We always go for the win,'' he told reporters.

Real's draw saw them slip to third behind Valencia, who drew level with them on 59 points but went second on head-to-head results, after beating Celta Vigo 1-0.

After seeing his side whistled off the pitch Real president Fernando Martin cancelled a day of rest for his squad yesterday to call a players meeting.

Vice-president Emilio Butragueno told reporters afterwards: ''It wasn't a crisis meeting. We are all worried and it was important we asked the maximum effort from the players over the remaining games.

''It is fundamental the club finish second.'' REUTERS PDS PM1740

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