Vilanova hopes for trophy-laden Barca season

Published Aug 19, 2012 12:47pm

Vilanova insisted he did not feel under pressure to match his predecessor's achievements. -Photo by Reuters

BARCELONA: Barcelona's new coach Tito Vilanova says he is looking to “win everything” this season as he replaces Pep Guardiola, who stepped down after a trophyless campaign.

“I hope to win everything. I think we have a sufficiently strong team to win every game,” Vilanova told reporters ahead of his side's opening match Sunday against Real Sociedad. Vilanova, who steps up having been assistant to Guardiola, will have to go some to match his mentor, who delivered 14 trophies in four years in charge – including two Champions Leagues.

It will be “very difficult for me” to reach his lofty goals, Vilanova admitted. But “it would have been for any coach who had come in - and for Pep, had he stayed”.

Vilanova insisted he did not feel under pressure to match his predecessor's achievements.

“I do not feel under pressure from that, I am calm - that's how I am,” he said.

“I have the same feeling I had when I was an assistant – I want to win.”

Vilanova stressed he would not be carrying out root and branch reform of a team led by Lionel Messi and which will welcome back striker David Villa after eight months out through injury, though he may not be ready for Sunday's opener.

“It's clear we will try to maintain continuity when it comes to our way of playing,” he explained, adding that Villa would be brought back slowly as he builds up his match fitness.

One club that will be aiming to derail Barca's title hopes are defending champions Real Madrid, with coach Jose Mourinho in as equally buoyant mood as Vilanova.

“The team was the best in Europe last season as it won the most difficult league with fantastic play and also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League,” Mourinho said.

“Getting there meant we got very close (to winning the Champions League).

We know what we need to do to continue that form and win titles.”

Real's season gets under way on Sunday against Valencia, who finished third in La Liga last season, a massive 39 points adrift of Real.

“Valencia did well last season and achieved their objective of qualifying for the Champions League,” Mourinho said, praising the club's coach Mauricio Pellegrino. “ We worked together at Barcelona and I've known him since 1998. He was a very professional player who has obviously deepened his knowledge of the game to arrive where he has and I wish him the best of luck, but not tomorrow.”


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