Tito Vilanova was the first FC Barcelona representative to talk to the press this afternoon at the Camp Nou. The manager is preparing his men for tomorrow’s Champions League match against Celtic FC after this weekend’s La Liga match against Deportivo de la Coruña. “My goal is to make sure my players recover from the effort they put in this weekend,” he explained. A victory over the Scottish side would bring qualification to the next round all the more closer for the Blaugrana. “Champions League matches at home are very important. It will be easier to qualify for the next round if we win tomorrow.”
When asked about tomorrow’s rival, Vilanova expects a Celtic side “that will close themselves off at the back and look to counter, we know how dangerous they are.” The manager also noted that Celtic managed to draw with Benfica and defeat Spartak.
Barça’s long injury list
Sergio Busquets, who is suspended for tomorrow’s match, joins Barça’s long list of unavailable players. An upbeat Vilanova accepts the circumstances and he said that “this is what we have and we’ll go forward with it.” He also revealed that Piqué, Puyol and Alves will not feature against Celtic on Tuesday and that they doubtful for this weekend’s match against Rayo.
Vilanova also said that he doesn’t believe the number of goals allowed by his team is due to the absence of his starting defenders: “Injuries don’t justify everything. In the end all they are all Barça players and they are all capable of playing well.” After analyzing this weekend’s match against Deportivo, the manager believes that the goals Barça conceded were “circumstances of the game.” Vilanova also defended his keeper, Víctor Valdés: “I don’t think he couldn’t have done much in those plays. His quality is beyond doubt.” Vilanova also reminded the journalists that Barça are the team that have scored the most goals this season (33) and “one thing compensates for the other.” However, if given the choice, he would “prefer to win by the largest goal margin without conceding any.”
Messi’s Ballon d’Or candidacy
Leo Messi was one of the standout players at Riazor this weekend with another hat-trick. With the Ballon d’Or voting around the corner, Vilanova doesn’t believe that the Argentinean’s performance this weekend increased his chances of winning the award. “He doesn’t deserve it for what he did the other day, but he deserves it for what he’s done all year long.” The manager explained that he won’t campaign for Messi, but he noted that “no one can do what Messi does.”
“Champions League matches at home are very important. It will be easier to qualify for the next round if we win tomorrow”
"Celtic will close themselves off at the back and look to counter, we know how dangerous they are”
“Injuries don’t justify everything. In the end all they are all Barça players and they are all capable of playing well”