Sunday March 17 2013
Messi: Vilanova's absence was a blow

Lionel Messi has revealed that Tito Vilanova's absence has hit the Barcelona squad hard over the past few months.

The Blaugrana Coach is currently in New York undergoing treatment for a cancer relapse, but will be back at Camp Nou on March 25.

And the Argentine goalscorer has claimed that they have 'really noticed' him not being there.

“Nowadays the Coach is really important,” he told TVC Sports. “Since Tito hasn't been here we've really noticed it.

“We respect Jordi Routa because he's our stand-in Coach and he's trying to help us win everything we can.

“But our boss was Tito and it was a blow when he went.”

The record-breaking forward also commented on the criticism Barca have received over the past few weeks regarding their slight dip in form.

“Pep Guardiola once said that when a team wins everything, all the time, people get tired and want another team to win.

“And for that reason they want us to lose.

“There could be many reasons why they don't want us to win, but I have not thought about it.”

Football Italia website