Tito Vilanova, durant el partit. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Before answering any questions from reporters, Tito Vilanova sent a message to FC Barcelona fans, the media, his technical staff and his players. He thanked the media for how they’ve handled the sensitive topic of his illness and he thanked the fans for their support. “I feel very supported and protected by the Club. I want to thank my staff and the players. This group has had too many close calls and I think it will help us, this situation keeps our feet on the ground because we are no different from anyone else,” said the manager.

Vilanova then thanked the “people of Vall d’Hebron for their excellent treatment” and he noted that “this is not over [referring to his illness] and even though I have a public job, the illness is mine, it’s private,” he concluded.

Fantastic start

The 4-0 over Espanyol was a good Three Kings Day gift for the fans and for Villanova, who highlighted Barça’s impressive opening minutes against their city rivals. “We started off really well. It’s not easy to start like this after a break, but we showed that we’re on form,” said the manager. Vilanova went on to praise the state of the pitch at the Camp Nou: “The pitch was in good condition and it allowed us to keep the ball away from our rivals.”

Pedro Rodíguez netted twice against Espanyol in addition to putting in an all-around good performance. “Pedro can score. I always say that if he gets time on the pitch he’ll end up scoring because he’s good with both feet. I think it’s good for him that he scored and it’s good for the team,” said Vilanova, who concluded his press conference by saying that “we tried to move the ball quickly so that the opposing team couldn’t get to us. Our left and right backs [Dani Alves and Jordi Alba] played very well.”

 

Zubizarreta “Tito's return is great news"

“I hope 2013 brings good health to everyone,” said Football Director Andoni Zubizarreta. On the match, the ex-Barça keeper said, “we’re still on form after the holidays, we were intense from the starting whistle.” He then congratulated Tito Vilanova on his return to the Barça bench: “It’s great news that Tito was able to be on the bench, but we have to be calm about this and respect the time and space he’ll need to fully recover.”