Johan Cruyff believes La Blaugrana still miss Pep Guardiola and that time will tell if Tito Vilanova is an adequate replacement.
The Barcelona legend was speaking to Catalunya Radio’s El Club de la Mitjanit programme, where he gave his opinion on Barca’s new signings, Real Madrid and the present board of directors.
“It is not the same being beside someone [in reference to Guardiola] and being at the head of things,” said Cruyff. “Things are different. Hopefully he does well but you never know.
“Tito has this to overcome but it can be turned into a positive. He has been alongside Pep for four years. Pep could never be anybody’s assistant. Time will tell.
“Barca will miss Guardiola when we don’t win but mostly we’ll miss his presence, his way of thinking, his culture. He was a unique person who always sought the support of myself and Txiki [Begiristain] in searching for the truth, then afterwards he did what he wanted.”
The Dutchman was also asked his verdict on the club’s two summer signings, Alex Song from Arsenal and Valencia’s Spanish international Jordi Alba.
“We need to see them in action but the bar is very high at Barcelona and we’ll see what they achieve.
“Jordi Alba has the advantage of having played here before [as a youngster] and in Song’s case he did very well at Arsenal, although football in England is different.
“The same goes for the Coach. You don’t have to teach him how to play football, but to lead and teach others. It’s still early to tell.|”
Asked about great rivals Real Madrid, the former Barcelona boss was in no doubt they will still be the team to beat this season.
“We must not underestimate Madrid. This year they will be very strong and Barca will only be okay if the players are at 100 per cent.”
Commenting on his absence from the recent Joan Gamper Trophy game with Sampdoria, Cruyff felt it was a bad time to play the game [on a Monday night] and also took the opportunity to refer to the current Barca board.
“To hold the Gamper when they did was no good to anybody. It makes no sense to play it after La Liga has started and you can’t present the team with the Camp Nou half empty.
“But where I am different from the board is in philosophy. Money is their priority and there are more important things than money.
“I would never have agreed to suspend the club’s amateur sections, for example.
“If this had happened when I was President of Honour then I would have given up the role,” he concluded.