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.

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Athletic Bilbao00000000
2Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
3Barcelona00000000
4Celta Vigo00000000
5Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo00000000
6EibarEibar00000000
7Espanyol00000000
8Getafe00000000
9Granada00000000
10Las PalmasLas Palmas00000000
11Levante00000000
12Malaga00000000
13Rayo Vallecano00000000
14Real Betis00000000
15Real Madrid00000000
16Real Sociedad00000000
17Sevilla00000000
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon00000000
19Valencia00000000
20Villarreal00000000
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