Tito Vilanova during the press conference / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Tito Vilanova gave his first press conference as the head manager of FC Barcelona and he started by thanking the president, the Board of Directors and the football director. “It’s an hounor that they chose me. I’m excited and I feel strong enough to do the job,” said the new Azulgrana manager. Vilanova is very aware of the challenge that’s before him: “the normal thing is that you’re offered the Barça job when things aren’t going well [for the team]. I accept this challenge because I know how football is understood here and, furthermore, I feel that I’ve been part of the successes of these past four years.

“Repeating these four years will be very difficult. Very difficult. Many circumstances need to fall into place. We won’t give up on any match or any titles, we’ll try to win them all. We’re very aware of how hard that is,” said Vilanova. The Bellcaire d’Empordà native also said that the way of doing business in the first team won’t change: “I'm ok with how most of the things have been done up until this point. Therefore, many of the methodologies will be similar, in training, press conferences and when we play away from home. It would be silly to try and change all of that now.”

Focused on doing good work

Vilanova, who said that it would have been very difficult to pass up this opportunity, is very eager to lead this new project: “I lose in any comparisons [with Guardiola], I didn’t come here to compete with anyone. I’ll try to do a good job, I’ll dedicate as many hours to the job as I have in the past. I talked with my doctors and they all told me to go forward with it. I’m very eager to get started,” said the Barça manager, who added: “the challenge is very big but having the memory of what recently happened to me, I doubt that it will be more difficult.

“I’m convinced that if we win, everyone will help us a lot. If not, we won’t get as much help. We’re all very well accustomed and we want to continue watching the team play the way they have been up until now. I’m not asking for patience,” explained Vilanova in the Sala París packed with journalists. For the new manager, the length of the contract wasn’t a priority, but “it gives a certain amount of stability to the Club.”

“My relationship with Pep is perfect”

Vilanova publicly thanked Guardiola for giving him the opportunity to return to FC Barcelona: “he’s my friend, almost like a brother.” He added: “my relationship with Pep Guardiola is perfect. If he had signed for another club I wouldn’t be here right now. I’m here because the Club offered me the job and I have the drive to do it.” Guardiola and Vilanova have also talked at length over the past couple of days about the new managerial job: “I work very closely with Pep. In the last five years we have never ended on a sour note. We worked well with each other.”

When asked about his relationship with Rosell, Vilanova said: “it’s fantastic. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”

Jordi Roura, the new assistant manager

Vilanova also talked about the decision to name Jordi Roura as his assistant manager: “I need someone by my side that knows how to do my old job, without having to teach someone new. Jordi, who was already part of the technical staff, is the ideal person. Despite the fact that we’re good friends, if he wasn’t qualified for the job, he wouldn’t be by my side.”

Abidal and Messi

Finally, Tito explained that he has yet to speak to the team captains and the players, and only two players asked to speak with him after the Copa del Rey Final. However, Vilanova has gone to see Abidal: “he’s lost a lot of weight but that’s normal, he seemed really upbeat. He needs to recover little by little, he’ll let us know how he’s feeling. We’re all very pleased with his ongoing recovery.”

When asked about Messi, the new Barça manager was clear: “I’m lucky enough to have known Leo since he was child and I keep saying that his style of play looks very similar to when I first met him. He does the same things. And his attitude is also the same. I don’t think it will be complicated at all, he’s one of the easiest players to manage. I’m convinced that we’ll get along.”