Vilanova: “If I had a do-over I'd make the same decision”

Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça manager doesn’t lament his decision to send in Messi against Benfica: “Playing 30 minutes against Benfica is part of his physical conditioning”

On Barça’s rival in the next round of the competition, Vilanova said: “I have no preference. Whoever we play against will be a big team. The round of 16 is always complicated”

Defending the Catalan language

Tito Vilanova defended Catalonia’s immersive linguistic model. “We have to open up, the more languages we speak the better. I certainly hope we don’t go back 30 years.”

Tito Vilanova explained Leo Messi’s mood after he was carted off the pitch this Wednesday night. “He was at ease but a little nervous because he wasn’t sure how bad the injury was.” The manager, who expects to know the extent of the injury shortly, said, “it looks like it’s just a knock but they are currently doing more tests to rule out other possibilities.”

Vilanova also noted that he doesn’t regret sending in Messi against Benfica. “We talked about the possibility of him playing for 30 minutes. He’s a player that likes to play … he’s not focused on breaking the record that everyone is talking about, if that were the case he would have played against Alavés and the full 90 minutes tonight. Playing is part of his physical training.” He added: “We should sub him out every time we’re leading 3-0 lest he picks up an injury. We’ve never behaved this way. If I had a do-over I’d make the same decision seeing that he can get injured at any moment.”

The rivals in the round of 16

Porto, Arsenal, Milan, Shakhtar and Galatasaray are Barça’s possible rivals in the next round of the Champions League. Vilanova admitted that he has “no preference. Whoever we play against will be a big team. The round of 16 is always complicated.” He added: “We did what we had to do, we wanted to finish first and have that small advantage of playing the return leg at home.”