Vilanova cool over Barca form

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova played down his achievement in leading the team to the best ever start to a Primera Division campaign after Saturday evening's thumping 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp.

Last Updated: 02/12/12 at 11:54 Post Comment

Tito Vilanova: Reflects on incredible start to the season

Tito Vilanova: Reflects on incredible start to the season

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Catalan club continued their amazing start to the campaign, Lionel Messi's 83rd and 84th goals of the calendar year helping Barca move onto 40 points from 14 games this term.

"I'm very happy to be able to secure this record, but even more so by the performance of the players, how they played the game," said Vilanova, whose side's only dropped points this campaign came in the 2-2 Clasico draw with Real Madrid in October.

"It's fine to get these wins. We're happy, but we're more proud that today, in winning 5-1, we kept pushing, trying to press. If we continue to be strong, I'm sure we will win more games and surely will continue fighting for titles.

"Athletic play in a totally different way to other teams. They make it very difficult. Though the result is emphatic, it was not an easy game."

He added: "Of course there are things to improve, but the important thing is that we want to win and we have the ability to work hard.

"It is clear that we can lose games, but (working hard makes it) much harder to lose."

Vilanova, who stepped up from being Pep Guardiola's assistant in the summer when the former Spain midfielder resigned after winning 14 titles during his four years at the helm, felt it was too soon to compare his reign with Guardiola's.

"These four years are unrepeatable in everything that was done, the titles that were won and the evolution of the system of play," he said. " I feel very proud.

It is a very short time since then. One must (evaluate) further on."

Athletic boss Marcelo Bielsa acknowledged the Barca team had adapted to the new regime flawlessly.

"They have the same power, the same style, the same sense of constant balance from any ball in any sector of the field," the Argentinian said.

And Bielsa admitted his side had been second best on Saturday evening.

"We did not recover the ball well enough, and were not able to build attacks quickly without losing possession," he said. "But the big difference was that our attacks never thrived and every time we lost the ball led to a Barcelona attack."

Two goals in three minutes - from Gerard Pique and a deflected Messi effort - midway through the opening 45 minutes put Barca firmly in the ascendancy and Adriano added a superb third in first-half stoppage time.

Cesc Fabregas notched a neat fourth soon after the break and, after Ibai Gomez had pulled a goal back with Athletic's first noteworthy attack of the match, Messi rounded things off with a brilliant fifth goal.

Messi's brace left the 25-year-old needing just one more goal to equal Gerd Muller's record of 85 in a calendar year, set in 1972.

The win consolidated top spot in La Liga for Vilanova's team, who finished the day six points clear at the summit after Real Madrid saw off second-placed Atletico Madrid 2-0 in the late kick-off.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

M

eanwhile, England's best U21 players playing with those most likely to be in the senior team from 2020 onwards might increase their chances in those tournaments to a point where they could actually be potential winners. Unlike 2016.

shagwa
Wenger warns Hodgson

I

m not a doctor, but the cause is likely to be crap dancing after scoring. My prognosis is we may need to take that leg off.

GVMUFC
Rodgers reveals Sturridge woe

F

or the time being we just have to focus on the players we do have, Rodgers said. We have to make the best of what is available. Jesus wept!

rodger's gusset
Rodgers reveals Sturridge woe

Footer 365

Ligue 1: Lyon held by Bastia, Monaco grind out a point, Rennes climb

Lyon missed out on the opportunity to leapfrog Marseille in to second place in Ligue 1 as they were held 0-0 by Bastia.

Premier League: Arsene Wenger is frustrated by loss to Man United

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists his side should have got something from their 2-1 loss to Manchester United.

Premier League: Van Gaal stays grounded after first away win propels United into the top-four

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal played down his side’s first away win of the season at Arsenal.

Mail Box

A Funny Mail About Line Dancing & More

We have some great responses to young Jack's question about how readers first got into football. Plus, finally some intelligent thoughts on Dave Whelan's outburst...

United Fans Would Gladly Take Wilshere

That's the message to any Arsenal fans who don't appreciate the midfielder. Plus, plenty on everyone's current favourite football club chairman and a wee question about fandom...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property