Lionel Messi: 'We have missed Tito Vilanova'

Tito Vilanova
© PA Photos
Lionel Messi says that Barcelona are missing coach Tito Vilanova.

Lionel Messi has admitted that Barcelona have been impacted by the absence of coach Tito Vilanova.

The 44-year-old, who took the reins from Pep Guardiola at the end of last season, is currently in New York undergoing cancer treatment, but is expected to return to Catalonia on March 25.

Barca have suffered a dip in form recently, losing twice to bitter rivals Real Madrid, as well as the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with AC Milan.

However, they now appear back on track after routing the Rossoneri 4-0 in the second leg and backing that up with victories over Deportivo La Coruna and Rayo Vallecano.

"Nowadays the coach is really important," Messi told TVC Sports. "Since Tito hasn't been here we've really noticed it.

"We respect Jordi Routa because he's our stand-in coach and he's trying to help us win everything we can.

"But our boss was Tito and it was a blow when he went."

The Catalan giants are 13 points clear at the top of La Liga.

Barca forward David Villa hugs Lionel Messi after the Spaniard scored against Rayo Vallecano on March 17, 2013
Read Next:
Messi makes it 18 straight
>


Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid17124146163040
2Sevilla18123338221639
3Barcelona18115247173038
4Atletico MadridAtletico18104432141834
5Real Sociedad1810263025532
6Villarreal1887326121431
7Athletic Bilbao188462219328
8Celta Vigo188372932-327
9EibarEibar187562524126
10Las PalmasLas Palmas186662729-224
11Espanyol185852225-323
12AlavesAlaves185761518-322
13Malaga185672631-521
14Real Betis186392030-1021
15Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo184682328-518
16Leganes184591329-1617
17Valencia174492633-716
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon1833121937-1812
19Granada1817101539-2410
20Osasuna1816111738-219
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand