Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Tito Vilanova praised his players for their perseverance and work ethic in tonight’s fight back against Osasuna at El Sadar. “We have place a lot of value on our capacity to fight back. This means we’re strong because you have to be mentally strong and have ambition to win in this stadium. We created enough chances to win the match. It’s twice as difficult to win here when you’re behind because they’ll try to break the rhythm of the game.”

Messi and Cesc

The Catalan manager reminded the press room that the season started just last week and that his players are still adjusting to competitive play. “We just started. This isn’t April or May when the players can play a lot of consecutive games.” That’s why he believes players like Messi, who scored a brace, didn’t have a bad game. “We always want Messi to play in the number 10 position [playmaker], but he still scores when he plays in the 9 position [center forward].”

On Cesc, Vilanova said that “he didn’t play a bad game. He had a good pre-season and he’s improved since then.” In addition, the manager said that he didn’t name Cesc to the starting line-up to rest Xavi ahead of Wednesday’s match against Real Madrid. “We just started and we have a lot of players that have tremendous talent, it’s all about sharing the load. We make the line-ups thinking about what we’ll come up against. I thought it would be better to play with Cesc and Iniesta, both of whom can score going forward,” said Vilanova.

“The expulsion is excessive"

Muñiz Fernández noted in his post-match referee report that Tito Vilanova was sent off because the manger had “angrily protested a play.” The manager acknowledged that he “told the linesman that it was a clear foul, and he told me not to protest. It seems that this is enough to get you booted from a game. We know how this referee acts. All the managers in the Primera División are warned, they know what will happen if they say there’s a foul.” The manager also added that the “expulsion is excessive because I didn’t say anything that was out of line.”