Saturday will be a big day for Tito Vilanova, coach of Spanish leaders Barcelona.
That’s the day when he will return to the Barca bench, away to Celta Vigo, after 10 weeks in New York receiving treatment for throat cancer.
The Barca players are delighted to have him back, as young winger Cristian Tello said on Wednesday.
“We are all pleased that he has returned here. Jordi (Roura, the caretaker coach) has done a great job but Tito is the coach, a very important role indeed. We have all missed him a lot.” Vilanova’s first decision will be who to put at left-back, given that Jordi Alba and Adriano are both injured. The task will probably be given to youngster Martin Montoya.
Barca’s other injury victims are captain Carles Puyol and winger Pedro, who pulled a muscle after scoring the only goal in Spain’s 1-0 win away to France on Tuesday.
Barca are 13 points above second-placed Real Madrid, who are away to another lowly team, Zaragoza, on Saturday.
Celta are second from bottom and in big trouble. Nonetheless, veteran striker Quique de Lucas said on Wednesday: “We need to win more than they do. Let’s hope they come here in a relaxed mood, after so many national team and Champions League matches.” Saturday’s other games are between Rayo Vallecano and Malaga and Levante meet Sevilla.
Malaga will partly have their mind on next week’s Champions League clashes, which could be good news for Rayo, who still harbour dreams of snatching a place in Europe.DPA
Rayo Vallecano vs Malaga
Levante vs Sevilla