Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, along with Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta, took the first press conference of the pre-season this morning, with questions focusing on Pep Guardiola’s comments last week, and moves in the transfer market.
Guardiola’s comments: “People aren’t interested in personal matters, but Pep got it wrong and I’m surprised by his comments. No-one on the board used my illness to attack him. The club tried to help me as much as possible. He visited me once in New York when I’d just arrived, but during my recovery from the operation I was there for two months and I didn’t see him. He’s my friend and I needed him, but he wasn’t there for me. I would have done things differently. I won’t say anything else about this”.
The problem started when Tito was made coach? “I talked to him and told him what I intended to do. It was him who encouraged me to become Barça coach. I’ve known him for 28 years. He’s my friend. I’ve won titles with him and we had amazing times together”.
Would you vote for Guardiola as club president: “When he makes a run for the job I’ll decide, but as far as I know he’s not stood for president yet”.
Game against Bayern on 24 July: “There’s been a lot of chat about it, but it’s only a pre-season game. They’ve had more time to prepare, with their whole team. We’re missing 10 or 11. We’ll do the best we can”.
Signing of Rubi: “Everyone is thrilled to arrive here. We wanted to sign Rubi last year.He’ll work with Jordi Roura analysing opposing teams. That’ll help me with the Barça team”.
Thiago Silva: “I’d like to sign him, but he’s not the only person we are looking at for that position”.
Bartra: “He needs to earn himself a place in the spotlight. It’s the players themselves who win their time on the pitch”.
Jonathan dos Santos and Afellay: “We want to loan them out”.
Neymar: “I’m very happy about his arrival. There won’t be a problem having him and Messi. They play in complementary positions. Leo is the best in the world, while Neymar is an amazing promise for the future. If the opposition are tracking one, it will leave the other free. If Neymar had gone somewhere else people would be talking about an amazing signing, but here people just talk about whether he will play well with Messi or not”.
You haven’t used the younger Barça players much... “Sometimes I’ve played a full XI of them. But remember, they are competing with the best in history. I brought three at once into the first team squad. The club’s model is to use players from here. Sergi Roberta had Thiago in front of him. He’s not going to do the same and he’s going to give us a lot. I have a lot of faith in him”.
Cesc: “It’s good for your players to receive offers. I spoke to him and he told me he wanted to stay here and that he didn’t want to go to another club, even though here he’s competing with Xavi and Sergi Roberto. I’m happy about that”.
Thiago: “The thing I don’t like is that he’s gone, not that Guardiola signed him. I wish him well. I wanted him to stay here, but he knew he was competing for a place against Xavi, Cesc and Iniesta and only two can play. When he was fit he played 50% of the available minutes. But for the bigger games I favoured the other three”.
First year in charge: “We won the league with 100 points and we’re going for 101. We want to improve on being Copa and Champions League semi-finalists. My children are proud that their Dad coaches Barcelona and I always love being in the dug-out”.