Vilanova: Barca and I not over yet

Tito Vilanova has confirmed his intention to continue as Barcelona Coach and also his belief that the club’s cycle of success is not yet ended.

The Coach made his return to the Pressroom on Friday afternoon for the first time since returning to the club after two months in New York undergoing chemotherapy as part of treatment for a second round of throat cancer.

With speculation being that his continuation for next season was still up in the air, Vilanova has today looked to affirm the situation.

“I feel good after the process that I went through. I did not return [to the Press] earlier because the treatment had side effects,” began the 44-year-old to reporters today.

“But every day I feel better. I have wanted to train and be in this newsroom.

“There was a problem with the distance when I was away.

“In New York I tried to help each day, even though I wasn’t in direct contact with the players, thanks to new technologies [online video messaging].

“Regarding my continuity, I feel strong and I am eager to continue for next season.

“At no time have I considered quitting. When I have two days off I am bored. This is my life and I do not feel any pressure.”

Pressure, however, is on the club this week after their Champions League semi-final first leg thrashing to Bayern Munich. The 4-0 result has led to the suggestion that the club’s cycle of success is at its end.

“This is continually discussed. In top competitions, like La Liga and the Champions League, winning is always very difficult.

“Barca won for three years. In the past we did not win the League nor the Champions League.

“If we win back the League then we will have four titles in the last five years. This will be unique.

“We have reached the semi-finals six times in the Champions League, a record that cannot be broken just next year. I do not think this is the end of a cycle.

“Are we dependent on Lionel Messi? I do not think his absence was noticed. We won the last three League games with nine goals for and none against.

“Now, dependence has always been there. He is the world’s best and he scores most of the goals. Hopefully we can depend on him for many years.”

Attention turned to the return leg against Bayern next Wednesday and the possibility of a comeback.

“We are Barca and we are playing at home. It would not be credible to say that we will overcome it, but our obligation is to compete and win.

“If we just score two goals in the first half then we will not know what might happen. Bayern created a great atmosphere with their fans and we will see if we can repeat that.

“We do not feel like throwing in the towel.”

The suggestion from Vice-President Josep Maria Bartomeu this week has been that four or five players will be brought in to ‘shake up’ the squad.

“We have not changed anything [from our plans]. I have a very clear plan and I am very clear on the players who could arrive.

“Everything is as it was two or three months ago and nothing has been distorted by the results. The team has responded very well after the defeat the other day.

“What hasn’t worked? You can always improve, even when you win 4-0. In the League, the season has been excellent. The League is stronger, despite what you may think after this week’s two games [between German and Spanish teams].”

Vilanova was asked of the situation relating to Victor Valdes, who is not renewing his contract beyond its June 2014 expiry.

“I have not spoken to him. He did not say that he would not be here next year, but that he would not renew in 2014.

“I cannot persuade him of how good Barca is because he knows better than me. When we finish the campaign, I will talk to him and will want to know what he thinks.

“In any case, his attitude in training is amazing and it makes me think that he would have no trouble continuing next season.”

Tags Bayern Valdes Vilanova