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11.07.2009 11:44

Vilanova: “I like the first game being at home”

Edgar Fornós / Vanessa Forns

Although of course in the League you eventually play everyone twice, Tito Vilanova thinks that having the first game at home is a good thing, especially as the team will have just played the European Super Cup.

The football first team assistant coach has spoken to Barça TV and the club’s official website about the League fixture list announced last Friday. Vilanova, who is well aware that Barça have a game against Shakhtar Donetsk in the European Super Cup on 28 August, thinks that beginning the League campaign on 31 August at home against Sporting Gijon is a good start.

xakhtar-fcb_x2x.jpg“Of course you end up playing everyone else, but I still like having the first game at home. As in all sports, the first step in the first game is always a wary one and you have to see how things go. In this case we’ll be coming in on the back of a big game against Shakhtar, which we want to win, but I prefer playing at home first because that way we don’t have to travel. Plus afterwards there’s a fortnight’s break,” said Vilanova.

“There are no easy teams”

As for Barça’s first League opponents, Sporting Gijón, Vilanova says that “there are no easy teams in the League and each game is really tough”. He went on to add that “very often these teams say they like to play the big boys early doors because we’re still a bit rusty and they might surprise us. We’ll have had a heavy preseason with some massive matches like the European Super Cup on Friday. I think they’ll reckon it’s not a bad time to visit Camp Nou”.

Tough second half of season

100709_ENTREVISTA_TITO_VILA.jpgIn 2009/10 Barça are to play all the ‘big’ clubs away in the second half of the season. “If you think we’re always away in the second part, then you should remember we’ve got them at home in the first half when we can build up points and our goal difference, which is also important,” pointed out Vilanova

Midweek games

Like last term, there will be a lot of midweek matches. “You get fewer fans because people have to work,” commented Vilanova. “Plus if they’re on telly and it’s the winter it’s easier and more convenient to stay at home and not go to Barcelona with all the traffic hold-ups each way.” At any event, “there’s nothing we can do about it so we just have to encourage people to come along,” he added, confident that “if it’s a really important match the fans will turn up”.

Clashes with Madrid

QM3D1411.jpgAs ever the most eagerly awaited game will be Barça-Madrid. This time round the two old rivals will go head-to-head at Camp Nou on 29 November and at Bernabéu on 12 April. Tito Vilanova says he would have preferred to get the away match in first: “There’s a lot of rivalry in these games and maybe I would have preferred to play at Bernabéu first, because the second game is always there and it might have been good for us to have played it at home”.
Vilanova: “I like the first game being at home”

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Physical demands of season packed with games
Tito Vilanova believes the team will be able to handle the tempo of all the games they have to play in different competitions over the course of the 2009/10 season: “The tempo comes from the competitions and how we do in them. If we get knocked out early on we’ll have fewer games. Then there’s the players’ form and injuries because you always get some however hard you try to avoid them. Last year we had lots of games and if we play all our possible matches this season we won’t have that many more.”

“Last season we had two Champions League qualifying games and this year we have the two Super Cups,” he added. “Plus a lot of our players have been in the Confederations Cup and next year there’s the World Cup, but last season our fitness was good and we never had problems on that front. We’ll try to keep on doing what we’ve been doing as it’s worked so far and so I see no reason to change it.”

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