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14.11.2009 12:31

Tito Vilanova has recipe for success

Edgar Fornós

FC Barcelona assistant coach, Tito Vilanova, has said in an exclusive interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat that he has the recipe to repeat the unprecedented successes of last year.

They say it’s harder to get there than to stay there, so what is the recipe for staying at the same level?

“We have to continue with the idea of last year that brought such good results, taking each game as it comes and getting through the difficult moments that come up over the season and getting to the end with our options intact in all competitions”.

There are some very difficult games coming up. Are you ready for a challenge like that?

“If you want to be in every competition you have to fight to win everything, but logically you know you will face lots of adversities and difficult moments. The truth is that we got an easy group in the Champions League, and we shouldn’t be leaving it all to the last game, because that means we won’t get the chance to rest any players ahead of the Club World Cup”.

Speaking of the Champions League group, everyone thought this required the call for prudence that you have been making since joining the club, but in fact it has turned out to be a very complicated group.

“Looking at the other groups, there is always one strong opponent, one medium one and one weaker side. There was no weak side in our group. The fourth seed has taken five points off us and if it had been an easier opponent I’m sure we’d have got six points and would already be as good as qualified.”

People have been saying the squad is a bit small. How will you cope when Touré and Keita go away for the African Nations Cup in January?

2009-11-12_ENTRENO_32.JPG“We’re still not too sure what we’ll do, partly because we don’t know what condition we’ll be in then. We have to get all our players together and use reserves if we have to, but we will certainly miss Touré and Keita, they are two top quality players with extraordinary strength, meaning they are able to play many games in a row.”

Do you agree that there is a crisis at Madrid of late?

“I find it hard to believe that a team that has had one of its best ever starts to the league, and with all its history, can be talking about a crisis right now. The thing is, you are often only considered as good as your last result, and the same thing is true every week of the year”.

Do you think whoever wins at the Camp Nou will not only get three points, but will also win a psychological battle for the following games?

“Barça-Madrid, Madrid-Barça, these games always affect things a bit, but a lot also depends on the result you get the week before. It is not the same to play the classic with a one, two or three point lead, and that’s why the game with Athletic Club is of such vital importance”.

Last season you won a historic treble with a lot of home-grown players. Is this an example for other teams that spend huge amounts to build up competitive teams?

2009-07-31_VILANOVA_02.jpg“Every club has its own policy, but I think we can afford to feel proud of ours and we should never forget how great what we achieved last season was, with such major involvement of locally produced players. In the Champions League final there were seven or eight youth products on the pitch, that’s quite unique. There are other teams that I’m sure are able to win as many titles as we did last season, but it would be hard for them to do it with so many local players the way we did”.

Is it easier for a player that is ‘made in Barça’?

“It’s clear that a player that grew up through our system has a better idea of what FC Barcelona and its philosophy is all about, because they have experienced it since they were small. Everyone is different, but the idea is still the same. And they are used to playing under pressure because not only do we demand that they play good football, but we also demand that they win. There have been very few players that have made it to the first team that have not performed well.”
Photos: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
Photos: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)

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On a personal level
Tito Vilanova has been a player, a coach and a director of football. What is easier? Ordering or obeying?

“It is much easier to be a player. You are doing something you like and that you have learned since you were a child. You train for two hours and that’s it. But a coach has to think football all day, not just when training and in games, you have to consider a lot of other aspects that require hours of dedication. But the hardest thing I ever did was work as director of football. You have to deal with the directors, the players, the coaches and always be connected. The job gets very little recognition and it’s only when you do things wrong that you get noticed.”

Is there life after FC Barcelona?

“I never have the time I would like. Work takes up many hours and I often feel I’d like to spend more time with my family. But I have learned to make the most of the time I have. Whenever I get an afternoon off, it feels like a whole weekend.”

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