Tito Vilanova has reflected on Barcelona’s record-breaking first half to the season and on the desire to be remembered for that, rather than his illness.
Vilanova returned to the bench for Sunday evening’s 3-1 win at Malaga, after missing the midweek Cup match against Cordoba to continue his treatment for his returned cancer.
Yesterday’s win for Barca saw them break their own record for points picked up in the first half of a Spanish League season.
“I have had many messages of support, but I want to be valued for my work, not my illness. Football to me is not work, but a pleasure. It is my best therapy,” commented the Coach at the end of the game.
“We are very pleased to have earned 55 points from a possible 57. It is incredible to have won 10 games on the road.
“And the players who are not yet in the first team showed against Cordoba that they are at a high level and that gives me peace of mind for the future. The key is that the players are very good.
“With some, like Busquets and Pedro, I have been working for six years and with others, four, have already acquired concepts. They want to win. otherwise, there would be nothing to do.
“Possibly we may not repeat a run like this. It would not be normal. There is the Champions League and the Copa… Atletico are 11 points behind, we have to go to their ground and to Madrid… It was unthinkable to have this advantage early in the season.
“It would not be possible without the ambition of a few players who have won so many titles. The desire to win is key to the team.
“Are we invincible? We are not. We know what it costs for us to win and we have seen this today. There are many teams that can make things difficult. If we lower our level, we will lose many games.
“The League is not won. It is a great advantage, but we must continue.”
Vilanova was again asked of the possibility of losing David Villa in the January transfer window.
“He will not leave the team. We are happy with him. The other day he scored two goals. He had a long and difficult injury and has had more minutes.
“But he again has suffered physical problems. Last year we greatly missed him in the second round.”
Think you know your Spanish football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!