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Vilanova: I would put Messi in again

by Tom Conn | Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Barcelona manager, Tito Vilanova insists that he would put star striker, Leo Messi in the match again despite the unfortunate knock that sent the Argentine off on a stretcher in the final minutes of Wednesday’s match.

In his post-match press conference, Vilanova was upset that Messi was injured, but calmed the fears of the fans and media, revealing that the injury was not as severe as originally thought and also stated that it was part of the player’s conditioning to play the final 30 minutes and he would put him in again.

“Basically, it’s just a knock; the doctors have been examining it and will do more tests to see if there is anything else.  We don’t know how long he’ll be out, we’ll have to monitor its progress and everything, but we’ll just have to wait.

“He wanted to play; he doesn’t just play for the record. He’s always played in the games he’s been able to.  He always feels more comfortable competing, and he’d do it again.  If it was just about getting the record I would have put him as a starter, but we talked about it yesterday.”

Vilanova then concluded by responding to who he would prefer to face in the knockout rounds of the Champions League and the team’s progress through the tournament.

“We have no preference in regards to pairing.  Now we need to focus on the classification, other times we have gone through poorly.

“All matches have been difficult in the Champions League.  It was difficult in Spartak, Celtic and Benfica. This year, Chelsea is out.  When the draw takes place, we will see what happens.  In Europe, it’s hard to beat any team; any loss can send you out.

“Honestly, we all want to be first to play the second leg at home, but that doesn’t guarantee anything.  It’s been difficult for the past several years, the knockout rounds are the most difficult, after several months of not playing Champions League matches.”

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