Tito Vilanova has thanked everyone for their support over his illness and made clear that his treatment is still continuing.
The 44-year-old returned to the bench for the weekend win over Espanyol, just over a fortnight after undergoing surgery on a returned tumour in his salivary gland.
“I thank all those who have supported me and all the doctors who have treated me. I feel very supported and protected by the club,” the Coach told reporters post-match.
“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.
“This is not over. There will be days when I can go to training and others when I cannot. I know I have a public job, but the disease of mine is private. So I ask you to respect that privacy.”
Vilanova was speaking in reference to mixing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment due in the coming weeks with working back at the club.
The Coach then reflected on his first game back, which proved to be a convincing 4-0 win over their city rivals.
“The state of the pitch was good and it allowed us to keep the ball away from our rivals. I think we had chances but I believe it is a great gift for everyone. We started off really well. It’s not easy to start like this after a break, but we showed that we’re on form.
“I think there was a lack of aggressiveness from Espanyol. I believe that the pitch allowed us to play the first touch style and when we play well, the opponent cannot get the ball. The faster play was from us.
“I didn’t leave the bench in the first half. I like standing, but it is also true that the team began the game with a very good dynamic. I preferred to avoid standing.
“In the second half, I wanted more from the team so I got up more. It is normal for the staff or people you live with to rejoice, that’s okay. There’s a long way to go, though.
“The players’ motivation to win? I do not think they have been particularly motivated. We knew we were playing at home to Espanyol and for our fans we wanted joy. I guess they are happy to see me, but I think they would normally have played like this.”
Pedro Rodriguez found himself on the scoresheet for the first time in over 20 games for Barca.
“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.”
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