Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova’s illness was a ‘punch in the face’ to his side, according to captain Carles Puyol.
Vilanova went under the knife on Thursday after he suffered a cancer relapse, and will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment that is scheduled to last around six weeks.
“It was a real blow, a real punch in the face. But we have to get ourselves up and keep on fighting. It’s what this club has always done and now we will do it again,” Puyol told reporters.
“The dressing room is more upbeat now. We chatted with Tito yesterday and that gave us encouragement. The message we received was that everything has gone well.
“(Eric) Abidal is an example to Vilanova and to all of us. He shows that if you fight you can overcome challenges and compete at the highest level.
“This is a very responsible dressing room. We have to go on as usual, training to the maximum.
“We’ll be waiting for him to return. The best way to help him is for the team to continue and win our next few games.”
Abidal resumed regular training action this week after a nine-month spell on the sidelines and could make his comeback shortly.