Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova says his side are under pressure to maintain their excellent form in La Liga.
The Catalan giants host Real Zaragoza on Saturday having taken 31 points from a possible 33 this season in their quest to dethrone fierce rivals and defending champions Real Madrid.
“We always look ahead to the next match and the match after that as well,” Vilanova said.
“We know the importance of the UEFA Champions League, but we are also aware about the match against (Real) Zaragoza.
“La Liga is a competition that doesn’t allow you to relax. It isn’t like other leagues where the champion may have lost six or seven games or drawn six or seven times, with those results you will never be champion here for sure.
“We are obliged to win every game we can in La Liga and the most important game is the next one against Zaragoza, so we will try to play with the best possible team.”
Vilanova defended his decision to rest stars such as Andres Iniesta, admitting that squad rotation is necessary to avoid player burnout with no less than three trophies on offer this season.
“I don’t think that Andres (Iniesta) has played less,” he said. “It is true that we have many good players for his central midfield position like Xavi, Andres, Cesc (Fabregas) and Thiago (Alcantara).
“I can understand him if he doesn’t see that as normal and I see it in the same way.
“Any other manager in his first year with Barcelona would like to put in place the same seven, eight or nine players that everybody thinks should play but no, we have these rotations to allow players to rest and prevent burnout, and this will help them come the end of the season.
“We don’t do this with just one player. We do it with all players and positions.”
The former assistant also dismissed concerns over Lionel Messi and David Villa, who sustained knocks while away on international duty in midweek, and expects both to be fit to play.
“One played 90 minutes, the other played 70 minutes and sometimes that happens when you travel with your national team, you suffer a little pain,” Vilanova said.
“They then stayed at the gym working a bit more with the physiotherapist but it’s nothing to worry about it.
“Today they’ll train normally without any problems, and that’s what we expect.”
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