Tito Vilanova, en el transcurs del partit contra el Deportivo/ FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

After the victory at Riazor by 4 to 5, Tito Vilanova was satisfied with the attitude his players displayed on the pitch, especially after Mascherano was given his marching orders at the start of the second half, when the score was 3-4: “These players, after everything that they’ve won, coming back from playing for their countries, and with 10 men on the pitch, they showed that they are eager to keep on winning. They showed their desire when everything was going against us, playing a man down for so many minutes.” He added: “I’m sticking with how hard Messi worked, after playing for his country, and how hard his team-mates worked.”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Barça play this way”

Despite admitting that he would have preferred to “not concede so many goals,” Vilanova praised his men for how they played in the first 20 minutes of the match: “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Barça play like this. Our opening 20 minutes were spectacular. We had the game controlled and we were playing at a very high level. We even had the chance to make it 0-4, but then the penalty was called. From that point on, the game got a bit crazy.”

When asked about Víctor Valdés’ performance against Deportivo, the manager could only praised his keeper: “Víctor is a high-quality player, he’s been performing at a high level for years, there is no doubt about how good he is.”

The substitutions

Vilanova explained why he subbed off Cesc Fàbregas for Xavi Hernández: “Cesc, with the desire he has to play, kept on pushing forward when we were down to 10 men. He played an excellent match. We needed someone to help Sergio, and the man for the job was Xavi. We was fresher and he was able to help us.” After Mascherano was given his second yellow, the first two players to be subbed in were Pedro and Adriano: “I sent Pedro in because he allows us to play on the wing, and Adriano because we were down a man on defence and Xavi because he has more ball control.”