Vilanova: Judge me next season
By Football News
Tito Vilanova has urged critics of his Barcelona reign to judge him next season after watching his side's 4-2 win over Real Betis.
Barca are only two points short of clinching the league title with four matches remaining, but they have faced criticism from various sections of the media for their defensive frailties and elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich.
However, the Barca boss - who missed two months of the season to undergo cancer treatment in New York - is the first to admit he may have made mistakes during his first term in charge of the Catalans after succeeding Pep Guardiola last year.
"One must improve and be self-critical. It's been a tough year for injuries. The coach has not been around for over two months and it's not been easy," he told reporters.
"Next year, we'll do things differently, but it is normal because it is only my first year. If we had not managed (Lionel) Messi's injury well, he would not have reached the same match against Betis to help.
"Tomorrow (on Monday) I'm off to New York and back on Thursday. It was all planned, and during this process you have to be in control of everything."
Vilanova reflected on Barca's victory over the Andalusians and felt they displayed 'character' to come back from going a goal down inside the first two minutes at Camp Nou, before challenging his players to wrap up the championship next week.
"We needed tranquility and this was the game to find it. The players were convinced too and to concede a goal in just the second minute is not easy, but we showed character," the 44-year-old added.
"Especially when they scored a second before the break. It was a matter of not losing our heads.
"Our consistency in the league has been demonstrated. Madrid have been outstanding during the second half (of the season), so we must add two points next week because Madrid will not drop any more."