Press conference. Jordi Roura PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Jordi Roura spoke to reporters on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s Barcelona derby away to Espanyol. The Barça assistant coach started off his press conference with words of encouragement for Espanyol defender Víctor Álvarez, who had successful heart surgery last Thursday. He then analysed Sunday’s match, saying: “We are expecting a complicated match, as always in the Cornellà stadium, and very intense. A derby is always special”.

Vilanova in excellent spirits

If everything goes to plan,Tito Vilanova will be on the bench for the match after spending a few days in New York. Roura explained: “He’s come back from New York in excellent spirits and happy. The tests went well and he’s looking good to me”.

Roura has been a key figure throughout the recovery of his boss and told reporters. “I took on this responsibility in a relaxed and straightforward way. I just tried to make the manager’s absence have as little effect as possible”.

The injury list

Roura also commented on the progress of the injured members of the squad. Regarding Carles Puyol, he said: "Bearing in mind that (the season) has been sorted out, we’re not forcing him and what we want is for him to be fully fit for the start of the next season”. As for Dani Alves, he assured reporters: He seems to be OK”. A decision will be taken on Sunday as to whether he can play against Espanyol.

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