Tito Vilanova: “In principle, Messi will be okay for the game”

Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The boss insisted that Messi, who missed training this morning, will be available for Saturday’s game against Celta

About Piqué: “will be back in training with the rest of us in a few days’ time”

“Piqué had two days of hard training and it’s just a matter of a few days before he is back working with the rest of us”
“Celta like to hold onto the ball for a long time and start their moves from the back. We need to steal the ball deep if we want to stop them making us run”

Leo Messi was given permission by the Club to miss this morning’s training, so that he could deal with a personal matter, but Tito Vilanova explained to this lunchtime’s press conference: “in principal he will be okay for the game. It’s no big deal that he misses one day’s training”.

“We have to be on top form”

Tito Vilanova also refereed to this weekend’s rival Celta, who currently sit in 13th spot: “they like to hold onto the ball for a long time and start their moves from the back. We need to steal the ball deep if we want to stop them making us run. Celta will try and play football and we will have to be on top form to beat them.”. The boss also admitted he had” some good memories” from his time as a player with Celta: “they always treated me really well”.

Piqué back soon

Vilanova also revealed that Gerard Piqué, who has been out for a month, is getting closer to making his reappearance: “he’s had two days of hard training and it’s just a matter of a few days before he is back working with the rest of us. It’s important that we start to get players back in his position, especially with Carles Puyol also out”. Finally the boss expressed his satisfaction with Alexis Sánchez, claiming: “he always does what I ask of him”.

Tito Vilanova, José Manuel Pinto and Thiago Alcántara: The Celta Connection

Pinto, amb el Celta.
On Saturday, Barça play Celta, a team with very special links to Tito Vilanova, José Manuel Pinto and Thiago Alcántara

On Saturday, in the Camp Nou (6 pm, GolT y Canal+ Liga) Barça will meet Celta Vigo for the first time in six years.  For three members of the Barça squad it will be a special game due to their personal connections with the Galician club.

Tito Vilanova: First Division debut

For first team manager Tito Vilanova, it will be a chance to renew acquaintance with the team that handed him his First Division debut as a player.  In 1992, following on from his apprenticeship in the Barça youth teams and a loan spell with Figueres, Vilanova signed for newly promoted Celta.  He spent three seasons at the Balaidos, making 29 appearances and scoring one goal.

José Manuel Pinto: the Zamora Trophy

José Manuel Pinto came up through the Betis youth ranks but had his first taste of top flight football with Celta.  He wore the keeper’s jersey for ten seasons and was an important part of the best ever Celta team, which featured the likes of Mostovoi and Gustavo López and secured qualification for the Champions League in the 2002/03 season.  In 2005/6, Pinto won the Zamora Trophy for the goalkeeper conceding the fewest goals, a miserly 28 in 35 matches.  He left Celta to sign for Barça in January 2008.

Thiago Alcántara: his father’s team

Celta also has a very special meaning for Thiago Alcántara, despite the fact that he has never played there.  He was born in 1991 and grew up in Galicia, where his father -Mazinho- made a name for himself in midfield between 1996 and 1999, staying on there when he hung up his boots.  Thiago joined Barça as a youngster in 2005, moving from Galician local side Ureca.  This time Thiago is ruled out of the match due to injury but he took on his father’s old club in 2010/11 in the Second Division with the Barça reserves.