Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Vilanova: "The line-up is the last thing"

Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova gave an interview to Catalan spoprts paper Sport.

You've already decided the starting line-up?
You always try to anticipate things… We can do this, do that, but we'll have to see what will happen with the injured players. You can have some ideas about it though but there can change things at the last minute due to injuries…

The defense gives you the most headaches.
It's true that three defenders who have been first choice this season won't be there. That makes you think a lot but we'll find a solution. We're convinced that the players who will start will do well but we still don't know who they will be.

Keita is an option as left back?
First we have to look at other things and then to the line-up. That's the last thing.

Iniesta and Henry will only be ready at the last minute. Can't this be counterproductive?
The result will tell us. If they get there in time and we win, people will say we made the right choice. If they get there in time and play a good game but we don't win, they will say we made the wrong choice. There could also be people who wouldn't understand if they get in time but don't start from the beginning.

It's a matter of honesty?
They are the first to know if they're ready to play or not. If they're not ready, their performance won't be good and that will make them look bad. On the other hand, they also know that they can make the difference in half an hour. Maybe you cannot play 90 minutes but that doesn't mean you cannot play half an hour.

What do you expect from Manchester United?
It's a team who feels comfortable defending because they have a goalkeeper who's good at high balls, central defenders who are good headers and Carrick who can place himself between the centre-backs... They don't see a problem in putting a lot of people in their area and defend. It's a team that feels comfortable doing that, like Chelsea. And they have fast people up front and can play the counter-attack very well.

The absence of Fletcher is as important as the Barcelona ones?
Sure, but I have a clear opinion about the absences. There are players who will never play a Champions League final. Others will play only one. I thinks it's exaggerated that a player like Alves misses the game because of what the referee thought to be a series of fouls. If there's clear aggression, I agree, but not in this case. It would have been a good thing for the game if they all would have played.

The two best teams in the world are facing each other?
Manchester United is the best team in the world, they won the trophy last season. Although people seem to have forgotten about it we had to play a preliminary round. That's a fact. We're facing a team that, like us, has played great football this season. But on the other hand, we're also facing the reigning champions, who can count on Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most spectacular players in the world.

His duel with Messi will be one of the keys in the final?
Great players can always decide game, but they cannot win the games on their own. They need their team-mates.

this was the first part of this interview, you will be able to read the second part later today.

Read more:
Messi: "When we have the ball, we enjoy ourselves"
Xavi: "We have to go out there, win it and that's it"
Pique: "I will score in Rome"
Keita: "We're convinced we can win the treble"

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