Vilanova defends Messi call

Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova insisted he was right to play Lionel Messi at the weekend after the Argentine sat out the 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

Last Updated: 02/05/13 at 13:10 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Watches from the bench as Barcelona crash out of Europe

Lionel Messi: Watches from the bench as Barcelona crash out of Europe

The World Player of the Year has been struggling with a hamstring injury, but he was passed fit to feature in Barca's 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

However, Messi watched from the bench as Bayern cruised into the Champions League final with a 7-0 aggregate victory, and Vilanova admitted the Argentine was left out because he feared he would aggravate the injury.

"Leo played in Bilbao on Saturday because he felt better," said Vilanova. "He imprinted a change on the team but at the end of the game he felt some strange sensations.

"He trained this week, but he didn't feel right. He is an explosive player and there was a risk he could tear his hamstring, so he couldn't help the team in these conditions."

Vilanova also denied suggestions that his team were becoming too reliant on Messi, insisting Barca had performed well without their record-breaking talisman.

"All these years when we have played without Leo we have won games by small margins, but this year in the league we have won games 5-0 and 3-0 without him on the pitch," he added.

"When you have a player that is so good, it is normal that you notice it. If Bayern had been without Franck Ribery or Arjen Robben they would not be at this level."

Vilanova also dismissed speculation of widespread changes to the Barcelona squad at the end of the season, and blamed the crushing defeat on a lengthy injury list.

"All squads are reinforced every season. I said the other day that we didn't need to change much, but rather recuperate the players we do have," he said.

"Bayern have arrived at this point with all their players and we have many out. Despite the great squad that we have you cannot win all the titles either. You can't win everything and the first leg has weighed heavily on this game."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

hen a players ability sinks to less than SWP's, but his value accelerates to more than £50m you know you must be in the comments section of an article about a Liverpool player leaving.

goober
Sterling Case For Leaving 'Bigger' Club

I

ll never forget Matt Stanger on Scott Dann on the transfer blog. I've always rated Dann since his time at Brum, and some newspaper had him going to a biggish club after Blackburn's relegation. A ball playing defender, Stanger mused, quoting. Pah. He's a godawful hoofer .

arexrarris
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

T

o be fair, one of the reasons its so difficult for certain clubs to get close to Real Madrid or Barcelona is once they have a player who is good enough to compete against the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona, they f*ck off, usually to either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

hump3.
Simeone baffled by PL failure

Footer 365

Harry Redknapp criticises Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham

Harry Redknapp says Mauricio Pochettino "has been rescued" by the performances of Spurs' young players this season, and has criticised the club's transfer policy.

Arsenal's bid for Paulo Dybala confirmed by Palermo

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini claims that Arsenal have made a bid for 'new Messi' Paulo Dybala.

Diego Simeone baffled by Premier League failure

Diego Simeone is baffled at the lack of cash-rich Premier League clubs in the later stages of the Champions League.

Mail Box

Brendan Rodgers Deserves Another Season...

"I am not bashing Chelsea, however..." The Mailbox takes aim at Jose Mourinho once again and under-fire Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers "deserves another season".

Klopp Over Rodgers? Not On Your Nelly

Liverpool fans have short memories and should give Rodgers more time, while Jose's tactics and claims are getting many more in a stew. It's the afternoon Mailbox...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company