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

I

d like to add players who push their team-mates out of the way to celebrate on their own

exhausted
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

I

f I were Manuel Pellegrini I would keep quiet and hope the Board didn't notice City not winning anything. If he isn't sacked I'd be astonished.

lfcfan80
Pellegrini: I won't be sacked

S

till I suppose it still gives him at least another year in the job. By the time it comes around , he can always make up another excuse. First it was 3 months , then a year .....Next year ? Whats his excuse with Van Persie ?

spud1
Di Maria 'could peak next year'

Footer 365

Neville 'concerned' over Reds form

Gary Neville has admitted that he is "concerned" that a resurgent Liverpool could qualify for the Champions League ahead of Manchester United.

Boro claim top spot as Derby lose

Middlesbrough became the new Championship leaders as they took advantage of Derby's latest slip by beating Millwall 3-0.

Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom: Benteke's late show helps end Villa's long wait for a win

Tim Sherwood recorded his first win as Aston Villa boss as Christian Benteke's late penalty helped beat West Brom 2-1.

Mail Box

Look Away Now Please, Sherwood...

Sherwood's cringeworthiness, Matic's Wembley celebrations, why LVG must show balls - it's all here in your Wednesday afternoon Mailbox...

United's No 2 Isn't That Bad Either...

One mailboxer is getting in a flap about the claim Man Utd would struggle without De Dea, while there's some anger directed at Chelsea...

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