Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova has denied Pep Guardiola’s claims the Catalan club’s chiefs used his illness against the former boss.
Guardiola, now in charge at Bayern Munich, claimed recently that powerbrokers at the La Liga champions used Vilanova’s battle with cancer to ‘damage’ him.
But Vilanova has rebuffed Guardiola’s argument, stating the club only had good intentions during his leave of absence to get treatment.
“I don’t think anyone from the board of directors used my illness to attack him and both my family and I are very pleased with the club’s attitude towards me,” Vilanova said on Tuesday.
“They’ve made things easy for us, they’ve tried to help us as much as they can.”
Guardiola was living in New York when Vilanova was there for treatment and the latter was saddened that his former boss did not make the effort to visit him.
“I’ve had this feeling with all the people who are working for the club, both staff and players, have cared about me,” Vilanova said.
“My friends have cared about me. Some people have even taken a flight to visit me in New York.
“About Pep, I don’t like to talk about personal issues but I only saw him during a two-day visit that I made.
“Later on, when I went into surgery and I was under treatment, we didn’t see each other, and it wasn’t my fault.
“He’s my friend and I needed him then.
“Maybe he thought he didn’t have to be at my side.
“He acted this way, I would have acted differently.”
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell backed Vilanova’s view of events.
“We were very surprised by his (Guardiola’s) comments. What he said about the board of directors and about Tito is completely false,” Rosell told 8TV.
“In the press archives you will see how the club has treated him, the best coach in the history of the club.”