Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova was full of praise for his side’s gutsy 1-0 La Liga win over third-placed Valencia at the Mestalla on Wednesday.
Vilanova – speaking in the absence of manager Pep Guardiola, who had been admitted to hospital with a back problem – said they were relieved to take all three points from a fellow top-four side, despite not being at their clinical best.
“We know that there are many games to go, both away and at home. We always know that we can draw or lose, because this can happen against any team in this league,” he said.
“We knew that this was one of the difficult grounds, and we hadn’t been able to win here in two years. We had many chances in the first half, especially for (goalscorer Lionel) Messi. We knew that anything could happen, and that is why we celebrated so much.”
Vilanova said the La Liga champions were expectant of victory at the Mestalla, but knew it was going to be a tough contest with their Champions League rivals.
“We expected a good result, but not a 0-4 or 0-5 here. We knew that it would be hard, the result is great for us and we know that you can’t win every game by a landslide,” he said.
“We made changes to be more attacking, not to be more defensive. We are happy, because in the first half we had more chances on goal than them. We are satisfied.”
“The minutes were ticking away and we had to risk a bit more. We put Pedro on as a goalscoring option, knowing that we could concede a goal as well.”
“We saw that Valencia were a little more tired and that we had more of a chance. He played a good game and was good up front, which is what we hoped for. Sometimes you think about the effects of travel, but this isn’t the case.”