Tito Vilanova has admitted that there is likely more value placed on teams winning competitions with home-grown stars, than with bought talent.
The Coach brought Martin Montoya on to replace the injured Dani Alves early in Barcelona’s 4-0 win at Levante, a decision that saw the team play almost an hour of play with 11 players to have spent at least a part of their youth development at Barca’s La Masia school.
Vilanova was asked of this landmark and how it compared to Valencia, who fielded 10 foreigners at the start of their match the same weekend.
“What other clubs do is not of my concern. Yet, I think that there is more merit given to winning titles and the Champions League with seven or eight home-grown players, as Barcelona have done in these recent years,” he told reporters today.
“They are selected for the team because we formed them and they are good, if we did not win we would not merit selecting them. If other teams do not do it then it is because they think they have other options to win.
“Playing with 11 canteranos is not like winning a title, though, it is not a goal. We were able to put 11 home-grown players on the pitch at other times if we had wanted, it was a situation that occurred through injury, not what I thought.
“This is an honour and a pride of this club, of all the Coaches at this club.”
Vilanova was speaking ahead of Barcelona’s second leg Copa del Rey tie with Alaves. The team are 3-0 up from the first leg and the Coach has listed a weakened squad.
“There are surprises in this competition every year. It is far from decided. In Mallorca in three minutes we conceded two goals and it can happen tomorrow.
“I understand that if this was a Champions League match against Manchester United then the Camp Nou would be full, but there will still be fans that want to see the players on Wednesday.
“Alaves have the mindset of nothing to lose. They want to play against Barcelona and on a great pitch.
“We are giving the competition the attention it deserves because we are the holders. Out of respect to Alaves and the fans, we are taking it seriously.
“We have given rest to some players, but the guys called up are also very prepared. Barcelona is always prepared for any match and we always go into every competition looking to win.”
Victory at the weekend saw Barca equal Real Madrid’s record from 1991-92 for the best start to a League season, with 12 wins and one draw. Vilanova, however, sees room for improvement from his team.
“These last few games we have played well. We have had a few injuries, had to rest other players too. We have played some games well but that does not mean we have been good completely.
“Yet, it is also clear that there has been some great progression in the team.”
As he was at the weekend, Vilanova was asked about the Madrid derby set to be played next Saturday.
“I prefer to think about the Cup match, but if we win our next League game then any result in that game will be a good result.
“And if we lose, any result will be bad. We care about our game.
“Would Madrid sack Mourinho if Madrid fell 14 points behind? It is not up to me. To be at 14 points though, we would have to win and they would have to lose.
“My priority is tomorrow’s game, not the League. And what happens at other clubs is not up to me.”
Vilanova was also asked once more of Lionel Messi edging every closer to Gerd Muller’s calendar year record goal tally of 85. The Argentine is on 82 at the moment.
“He can achieve this record, but he does not play with it in his mind as it would make him worse. He looks for the good of the team and the other day he showed that, he had chances to score more but left it to his teammates.
“If he just thought about the record then he would have asked to play tomorrow.”