Vilanova anticipates tough test

Tito Vilanova has put the Super Cup out of his head in order to focus Barcelona on Sunday’s tough trip away to Osasuna.

The Catalans lost their last trip to Pamplona 3-2 and Vilanova is keen that the club avoid a repeat result against Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men this time around.

Talking to the assembled media today, the 42-year-old refused to be distracted by questions on the Super Cup, which Barca are midway through competing with Real Madrid for.

“I’ve not had time to watch the first leg, I have only the view from the field. In addition, I was preparing for the game against Osasuna,” responded Vilanova to reporters.

“Osasuna’s is a ground that is always tricky to play at. It is difficult because of the pressure from the stands above you. But also because of how Mendilibar’s teams play – he is a Coach it is hard to come up against.

“In addition are the characteristics of their players. Theirs is a pitch in which they squeeze you and look to take advantage of your mistakes.

“When we lost 3-2 there last year, we began to realise that it would be difficult to win the League, because we had dropped points it would be hard to recover.

“There is no danger that Barca will relax. They know how to go into the field on Sunday and they are the first to know that we lost a lot of ground in the title race last year here. With Mendilibar we know it will be very complicated.”

Vilanova has included Alex Song in his squad, but didn’t give any clues as to if he will be involved tomorrow.

“He has only had a day of training. We have been able to explain a few moves to him. Tomorrow we will decide whether he is ready to play. His adaptation has been rapid, we have a style similar to that of his old club.

“Andreu Fontas, Jonathan Dos Santos and Ibrahim Afellay have been ruled out for technical reasons.”

Vilanova refused to comment on this trio’s future at the club, though, before stating that Cristian Tello will be staying, whilst Carles Puyol ‘in principle’ is fit enough to start tomorrow.

The Coach was also asked again about goalkeeper Victor Valdes, whose mistake on Thursday night gifted Real Madrid a second away goal in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana.

“I’m surprised that at this point there are still doubts about Valdes. The club has won four European Cups and he was instrumental in three of them.

“He is the best goalkeeper in the world without a doubt and the best to have played for Barcelona. He was very good through pre-season and after the match against Madrid he trained at great pace.

“He has a tough mentality.”

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