Thumped last season, Rijkaard said: "Yes, I think so. But not just because of last year, because the derby is simply a very special game. A one-off.

"Espanyol are a very compact, organised team with players capable of making the difference. But at home, against a big team like Barcelona, I think we can cause them some real problems."

Rijkaard comes face-to-face with Ernesto Valverde, only weeks after the Espanyol coach was linked with his job. Rijkaard said: "I think he would be a good option for Barcelona. He has everything to coach a big club."

The Dutchman was quizzed about yesterday's reports that he'd informed his coaching assistants that he intends to leave the Nou Camp at the end of this season.

"I have a contract here," was Rijkaard's reply.