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Tito: "I'd be sacked if Barça were 18 points behind Madrid"

But despite his team's generous lead over their rivals, the Barça boss does not think the legue is over yet. "I know things can change very quickly. When you lose two games, you look worse as a coach."


Tito Vilanova believes that he would have been sacked by Barcelona if his side were 18 points behind Real Madrid.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Catalans' game with Málaga in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, the Barcelona boss was asked whether Madrid could be ruled out of the race for the title, given the gap in points between them and Barça.

"No, but if the situation was the other way round, I woudn't be here to answer that question," he responded.

"Madrid are capable of winning every game in the second half of the season and we are capable of losing those points. We are not talking about four games, there are a lot of games left. I know that things can change very quickly. As soon as you lose two games, you look worse as a coach."

Vilanova, whose side beat Málaga 3-1 on Sunday, is confident Barça will not be complacent when they face them at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

"I don't think we will relax. Of course we beat them in the league and we played really well. This game would be fit for the Champions League. Málaga have shown they are capable of competing in the league and in the Champions League. They have a lot of virtues, and this will be a lot harder, because it's a two-legged tie, and if you concede a goal or have a man sent off it becomes much harder over two games."

Vilanova predicted that both sides would make changes from the teams they put out at the weekend but warned: "That won't make a difference to how the teams play. Pellegrini's teams always play in a similar way, and so do we. I don't think there'll be too many differences."

And he indicated he may play a similar team against Málaga that beat Córdoba 5-0 last week. "We are lucky to have players who you would say don't play very often but have helped us reach the number of points we have now. Any of our players can play. Tomorrow's team will be very competitive, and so will the team that plays against Real Sociedad on the weekend. I have confidence in all my players, not just the ones that played against Málaga but the ones that played against Córdoba too."

Vilanova also had words of praise for Sergio Busquets "for his ability to interpret the play" and Cesc Fábregas, who "has learnt our way of playing", but added: "I want to believe they can get even better".

And he dismissed talk of aiming to win a treble of the Copa del Rey, the league title and the Champions League.

"I don't think about that because first, we have a lot of games left in the league. When we won the Champions League at Wembley we almost got knocked out in the second round by Barcelona. I like to think about our next game, which is against Málaga."

Estadísticas AS.com