Tito Vilanova during the game / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Tito Vilanova believes that the Camp Nou was treated to “a very good game of football” this evening where both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid offered up “a great spectacle” and where both teams “created chances.” But above all, the manager is most proud of the “sacrificial spirit” of his players. “We tried to win the match until the very end, and I want to highlight [my players’] spirit of sacrifice,” he said before noting Montoya and Pedro’s two chances at the end of the match.

Vilanova went on to evaluate the final result: “It’s clear that I always think we should win our games, and in the end I thought we could have done it. I think we had our chance with the opportunities that fell to Montoya and Pedro. But if you told me at the beginning of the season that we’d be eight point up by this point, I would have signed on the dotted line. I’m very pleased with [my players’] ambition to dominate, to carry the weight of the match.”

Betting on Adriano

The manager, who was without many of his defenders, decided to field Adriano in the center of the defence against Real Madrid: “The technical staff talked it over. I talked to him about it on Friday, and we tried it out in training. I needed to know if he thought he could do it, and he told me he could. I want to thank him for his effort. I also want to thank Piqué for trying to make it, for working morning, afternoon and evening, even though it didn’t work out in the end.” On Alex Song, Vilanova said that “I’ve shown him that I have confidence in him and I’ll continue to do so.” When asked about Marc Bartra, he said that “it wasn't the time to put him in that situation.”

Messi’s eagerness to improve

Without a doubt, Leo Messi was Barça’s best player against Madrid: “We don’t know where his limits are. You should see how he trains each day – he shows such a willingness to improve. I don’t think we’ll ever see a player like him again. He’s the best player in the world by far.” On the Argentine’s duel with Cristiano Ronaldo, Vilanova said that the Portuguese player would "get a lot more recognition“ if he didn’t play in the same period as the Blaugrana forward.

When asked about Mourinho’s comments about the referee, and Pepe’s accusation that his players dive, Vilanova was devastatingly clear: “Even though he said he didn’t want to talk about the referee, he did. Their second goal comes from a very clear foul on Iniesta. If we’re going to talk about the referees, let’s talk about it all, not about one specific play. Pepe? We should make a highlight reel of all of his reckless challenges. What does Pepe have to say?”

Zubizarreta: “We saw a great game of football”

The Director of Football highlighted the quality match at the Camp Nou this evening and the attitude of the Barça fans: “We saw a great game of football, with big teams and big players. We saw a lot of things in a match where the fans behaved marvelously. The match had a fantastic atmosphere.”

Zubizarreta went on to say that he’s pleased that Tito Vilanova’s players are headed to the international break after maintaining their eight-point advantage over Madrid: “We’re going into the international break in a very good situation.”

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