River Plate's coach, Marcelo Gallardo, spoke to the media following his side's semi-final defeat in the Club World Cup at the hands of Al-Ain on penalties. Gallardo said his team weren't focused enough in the match against Al-Ain but that the defeat doesn't take anything away from their CONMEBOL Libertadores success nine days ago against Boca Juniors in the Santiago Bernabeu.
"The main issue was our focus on a similar stage after playing a match against a rival which, on paper, were weaker than us - but you have to show that out on the pitch," explained Gallardo. "We lacked a bit of determination."
The coach himself accepted part of the blame for that. "It's up to the coach that these thoughts don't come into play. What we achieved just over a week ago is huge and we are all in a happy place. However in these moments you must separate yourself from those feelings and put in the hard work for what was always going to be a dangerous match for us."
"It was the internal battle that some had. It's my role to make them focus in the best way possible but it was difficult for me too. Everything is a learning curve. Every defeat teaches you something," commented Gallardo. "A little over a week ago we made history and this shouldn't take anything away from what we achieved."