Champions League:Thompson responds to Dutch detractors

Phil Thompson chose his moment and put Barcelona’s loud-mouths in their place.

Phil Thompson chose his moment and put Barcelona’s loud-mouths in their place.

His players had done very much the same thing throughout a tension-packed Champions League collision in the Nou Camp and their caretaker boss made sure he finally won the war of words.

He and his players had been forced to listen as Barcelona’s Dutch aces Frank de Boer and Patrick Kluivert had spent weeks bad-mouthing the Liverpool side for being negative, boring and not a club they would want to play for.

But after Liverpool had won this tie on points, if not goals, Thompson hit back where it hurts.

The Dutch have failed to reach the World Cup finals, and Thompson rubbed their noses in it with a piece of Scouse wit that will long be remembered in the Barcelona dressing room.

Thompson hit back with a stinging remark that underlined the fact that the Dutch are soccer failures at the moment.

He said: ‘‘At first I must apologise to the Barcelona media and their players for playing so well, I know we are not supposed to be able to create chances, but we certainly created enough and fully deserved the draw, and I felt the win.

‘‘What had been said before the game certainly motivated the players, nobody likes being criticised, particularly by players who will be in Disneyland this summer on their holidays rather than the World Cup in Japan.’’

Liverpool, despite still not having won a match in this group - there have been only two wins overall in 10 ties - the Merseysiders can still reach the quarter-finals if they beat Roma at Anfield next Tuesday.

Thompson said: ‘‘It’s going to be a very, very exciting game now against Roma. And it would have been a big disappointment for the boys had they not been able to put themselves into this position because they have worked so hard throughout the tournament.

‘‘We’ve only lost one game of 13 in European competition this season and we deserve some reward for that.

‘‘Maybe we should have put Galatasaray away twice, that would have made it so much easier. But we can still do it.

‘‘We attacked well in the first half and defended superbly after the break when we had to, and it said a lot for our players that the Barcelona players were going down time and time again looking for penalties. It shows how well we were playing.’’

He added: ‘‘It’s extremely difficult to work out this group, but we have to win against Roma and probably by a couple of goals.

‘‘But I have great faith in the team. People can see how we have developed and how well we have come on as a team.

‘‘We put together a great run last season when results were needed and we can do the same this time.

‘‘Roma will know it’s going to be a daunting task for them although they beat us 1-0 last season at Anfield.’’

Thompson clearly was not happy with what he considered to be diving by the Barca players, and Liverpool picked up three bookings - one of which sees Dietmar Hamann banned now from the Roma game.

Thompson said: ‘‘It’s a shame we will be without Hamann next time. But especially considering how their players were going down, something like that was bound to happen, it was always going to be a bit dodgy.

‘‘The way the group is I have always felt it would go to the last game. But we have deserved to be going into this game with something to play for, it would have been so disappointing if we’d have been going into the last game in front of our own fans already out and with nothing to play for. Now that won’t be the case.’’

And there was another parting shot at the outspoken Barcelona Dutch contingent.

He added: ‘‘We don’t like to hear criticism, it’s a lack of respect and a bit of fear when people do say things like they did. I hope their lads will now have a re-think.

‘‘You can’t always play the way you want to in a match, and they should know that. It will be very interesting now and maybe we will meet again in this tournament!

‘‘I am proud of our lads, I have great belief that we can go anywhere and get a good result. If we had put away one of those chances in the first half we would have made it very difficult for them.

‘‘We are looking strong, and that is going to help us now in these final games. We have some great talent in the squad and a great belief that we can win these two competitions

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