Monday May 13 2013
Vilanova: Fantastic to win

Tito Vilanova praised Barcelona’s mental strength and ambition to see through the season and win the Spanish League title.

Barca were crowned champions for the fourth time in the last five years without kicking a ball over the weekend, thanks to Real Madrid’s failure to beat Espanyol on Saturday evening.

“We've been the better team in La Liga, without a doubt,” reflected Vilanova, after his side’s 2-1 win on Sunday evening at Atletico Madrid.

“We knew that we had to win as many points as possible at the start of the season because big teams usually drop points in the first games of the year.

“We started off well and that gave us a good advantage. After that, when everyone said the League was already won, we were mentally strong to hold of a Real Madrid side that played an exceptional second half of the season.

“If we had let ourselves think it was easy, we would have struggled.

“We drew at Camp Nou [against Madrid] and, if we had been awarded the penalty in the last minute at the Bernabeu, we would have drawn there too.

“They haven't dropped many points in the second half of the season, if they had, the gap would be even bigger. We've had five illegal goals scored against us which hasn't helped us.

“Winning La Liga a year after not winning it is fantastic! A season where you win the league title is always a good season.

“We lament the fact that we were unable to compete better in the Champions League. Next year will be even more difficult but we’ll try to win it.

“The hardest thing to do in this sport is to win after you’ve already won everything.”

Vilanova is the sixth Barcelona Coach to win the title in his debut season, but he does not see this as his first, having been assistant to Pep Guardiola from 2008 to 2012.

“I consider this to be my fourth League title. I’m just as excited about this one than the other three. We have always worked as a team.

“The 100 points record? If we have a chance to do it, we’re going to go for it.”

Slight concern for the season run-in is Lionel Messi’s muscle injury seemingly having recurred during yesterday’s win.

“We’ve managed this case in the best possible way. He was feeling good but the pain can come back immediately, this usually happens with muscle injuries.”

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