Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

FC Barcelona will approach their Copa del Rey Round of 32 match away to Alavés “with utmost seriousness,” said manager Tito Vilanova this Monday afternoon. “We have to give this fixture the importance it deserves. I’m going to approach this Cup tie with the most competitive team possible to get a good result. I don’t see this as an opportunity to give players that haven’t had a lot of playing time more minutes on pitch. However, it is true that we have quite a few players that are recovering from injuries and that I might leave the five players that have played the most in Barcelona,” said the manager in the Richard Maxenchs press room.

Vilanova also noted that Mendizorroza is a good stadium to play in and he highlighted Alavés’ defence: “I know their manager very well and I know how he works. Alavés have only conceded four goals in their last ten matches. This means their defence is well worked and organised.”

Barça’s good form

When asked about his team’s good start to the season, he said that “we’re on a good path but the season just started.” He added: “I’m lucky that I was born here. I know that all the praise we’ve received will change when we start losing. I’m not worried, I’ve seen this happen since I was a child. Besides, statistically we’re closer to losing a game than we are to winning.”

Messi and Iniesta, almost unrepeatable

On Leo Messi and Andrés Iniesta, Vilanova said that the likelihood of ever seeing players like them again is very slim. On the Argentinean he said: “I believe that we will never see a player like him again; not only the goals he scores, but his capacity to see the game. He’s the embodiment of different aspects of the game.” When asked about Iniesta, the manager said he the example to follow: “He’s the clear example of a player formed in La Masia and reaching the top.”

The manager, who congratulated Manchester City for signing Txiki Beguiristain, revealed that Piqué’s return to the football pitch isn’t too far off: “He’s recovering well. He has physical characteristics that make him a bit special. At this point it’s more of a physical issue than it is about pain.”

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