18 out of 18 possible points. Vilanova etched his name alongside historic Azulgrana managers when he led his team to victory at the Sánchez Pizjuan
Only five managers have managed to lead their teams to victory in their first six La Liga games: James Bellamy, in 1929/30, Johan Cruyff in 1990/91, Luis van Gaal in 1997/98, Pep Guardiola in 2009/10 and Tito Vilanova this season
Tello and Villa celebrate the match-winning goal / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
FC Barcelona is in good hands. Tito Vilanova took charge of the Barça bench eager to show what he’s capable of accomplishing. This Saturday, after the victory over Sevilla FC, the Catalan manager equalled Barça’s best-ever start in the Liga. With six victories from six matches, Vilanova has won all 18 points in play and he’s broken into a select group of managers that won their first six matches in the Liga.
Bellamy sets the record
Up until now, only five FC Barcelona managers can say that they’ve managed to achieve this feat. The first was James Bellamy, in 1929, after beating Real Sociedad (3-0), Arenas de Getxo (1-3), Europa (2-1), Racing (5-0), Real Unión de Irún (1-3) and Atlético Madrid (4-2).
The birth of the Dream Team
71 years later, in what was to be the Dream Team’s first title winning season in Spain, Johan Cruyff managed to win his first six domestic matches. The teams that fell to Laudrup, Bakero, Stoichkov and company were Espanyol (0-1), Valencia (3-1), Betis (2-3), Valladolid (1-0), Tenerife (0-1) and Athletic Club (4-1). That was the start of one of the most storied and celebrated Barça teams in Club history.
Louis Van Gaal hits for six
The first of Louis van Gaal’s two Liga titles with Barça also started out with the team winning its first six matches on the trot. On that occasion, Barça’s perfect start saw Real Sociedad (3-0), Valencia (0-3), Deportivo (2-1), Sporting (1-4), Tenerife (3-2) and Mallorca (0-1) fall to the Blaugrana.
Guardiola joins the group
Pep Guardiola earned his spot among this select group of Barça managers in the season he led the team to six titles. In the 2009/10 season, Barça beat Sporting (3-0), Getafe (2-0), Atlético Madrid (5-2), Racing (1-4), Málaga (0-2) and Almería in its first six La Liga games. The team would go on to claim the title with total of 99 points.
It seemed unlikely that Vilanova would match the success of the above mentioned managers (Barça were trailing Sevilla by two goals in the second half this Saturday), but Guardiola stated in his goodbye press conference that “I’m leaving you in good hands, the best possible.” Indeed, this Saturday, Tito Vilanova, assistant coach turned first team manager, has made history.