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Vilanova, contra l'Atlètic. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Barça thrashed their immediate pursuer in La Liga, Atlético Madrid, and are now nine points clear at the top of the table.In addition, Real Madrid are 13 points adrift of the league leaders. However, Tito Vilanova made sure to downplay Barça’s advantage in the post-match press conference: “We’ve won a lot of points, but it hasn’t been easy. We’ve had to battle back to win games and perhaps we won’t be able to do that in the future. La Liga is not easy, and it certainly isn’t boring.”

The FC Barcelona manager reminded the gathered journalists that “in my first year (2008/09) we were 12 point back and we had to go to the Bernabéu and play for the title. Now, there’s a team that’s only nine points behind us.” He added: “I don’t think that this title is ours to lose. If there is a team that has the capacity to win a lot of points, and they overtake us, then they deserve the title. It happened in 2009 and it could happen again.”

Adriano’s goal, key for Barça’s chances

On the match against Atlético, the manager said: “Adriano’s goal was very important, it was very difficult for us at first to break through, and that’s largely due Atlético’s brilliant performance. The goal gave us morale and from that point on we carried the initiative of the match.” On the Brazilian defender, Tito Vilanova said, “he’s playing at a great level. The most important thing is for him to feel good. He went through a program to improve his fitness and that’s helped him a lot. His progress has been fantastic.”

Complicated line-up

Vilanova admitted that his players are making it increasingly difficult for him to pick the team’s starting line-ups: “Naming 11 players to start isn’t easy. I thought we’d do well with the team I sent out and that Villa could help us in the second half. I understand that this isn’t easy for him, but we have a lot of talented players, Mascherano and Alves also watched the match from the bench . . .”

Finally, the manager praised one of FC Barcelona’s standout players against Atlético, Sergio Busquets: “It’s easy to focus on other players, but his work was simply spectacular. He’s the best in the wold in his position and he can only get better.”

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