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.

Related Video
Champions League
Championship
League One
7.45pm
Colchester
vs
Sheff Utd
7.45pm
Doncaster
vs
Crawley
7.45pm
Gillingham
vs
Peterborough
7.45pm
MK Dons
vs
Bradford
7.45pm
Notts County
vs
Leyton Orient
7.45pm
Port Vale
vs
Bristol City
7.45pm
Preston
vs
Chesterfield
7.45pm
Rochdale
vs
Walsall
7.45pm
Scunthorpe
vs
Coventry
7.45pm
Swindon
vs
Oldham
7.45pm
Yeovil
vs
Crewe Alexandra
League Two
7.45pm
AFC Wimbledon
vs
Burton Albion
7.45pm
Bury
vs
Stevenage
7.45pm
Cambridge
vs
Exeter
7.45pm
Cheltenham
vs
Southend
7.45pm
Mansfield
vs
Morecambe
7.45pm
Northampton
vs
Hartlepool
7.45pm
Oxford Utd
vs
Accrington
7.45pm
Plymouth
vs
Wycombe
7.45pm
Portsmouth
vs
Dag & Red
7.45pm
Shrewsbury
vs
Carlisle
7.45pm
Tranmere
vs
Newport County
7.45pm
York City
vs
Luton
Conference Premier
7.45pm
Aldershot
vs
Braintree Town
7.45pm
Alfreton
vs
Telford
7.45pm
Bristol Rovers
vs
Nuneaton Town
7.45pm
Chester
vs
Southport
7.45pm
Dartford
vs
Dover Athletic
7.45pm
Eastleigh
vs
Forest Green
7.45pm
Halifax Town
vs
Grimsby Town
7.45pm
Kidderminster
vs
Altrincham
7.45pm
Macclesfield
vs
Gateshead
7.45pm
Torquay Utd
vs
Woking
7.45pm
Welling United
vs
Lincoln City
8pm
Barnet
vs
Wrexham
Scottish League Cup
7.45pm
Rangers
vs
Inverness
Tables