x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Barca taking 'family' approach after fast start

Barcelona has not lost a match in Primera Liga yet and sit atop the league standings. Coach Tito Vilanova was just released from the hospital as the team has pulled together and taken a 'family' approach, writes Andy Mitten.

Barcelona's players pose jerseys featuring the portrait of their head coach, Tito Vilanova, reading 'Come on!', in Catalonian, prior to their Primera Liga match with Valladolid.
Barcelona's players pose jerseys featuring the portrait of their head coach, Tito Vilanova, reading 'Come on!', in Catalonian, prior to their Primera Liga match with Valladolid.

 

Unbeaten Barcelona went into the winter break with a record start to the league, something even the club legend Johan Cruyff concedes has made the Primera Liga "boring".

The players cannot be criticised for their brilliance: the Catalans have a record lead over their greatest foes, Real Madrid.

Asked to explain the club's success, Cruyff said: "Look at the team when it doesn't have the ball. They pressure their opponent right up to the goalkeeper to get the ball back as quickly as possible. The most difficult thing in football is to do the easy things and do them well. That's the difference between Barca and all the rest."

Barcelona also have a coach who will be absent for the next month or two because of his latest cancer treatment. Tito Vilanova came out of hospital on Saturday, and his players wore shirts that read: "Think, Pride and Courage".

His assistant, Jordi Roura, has taken temporary control and consults with Vilanova. Meanwhile, Barcelona can make flowery, "more than a club" statements about families and philosophies because the team are at the top.

One such statement issued by the club last week read: "Barcelona is like a family; there are people who have a relationship with this club for life." Which is true on one level and will always be the case if you are a Xavi or Iniesta.

But try telling that to the coaches, staff and players who have been discarded over the years, especially when a president is new and fills the club with his own men.

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