Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura believes striker David Villa will soon be back to his best amid rumours of a potential exit from Camp Nou.
Villa helped Barca register a 5-0 victory over Cordoba on Thursday, sealing their passage into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey to set up a clash with Malaga.
And although Roura was impressed with the whole Barca side, it was Villa that caught the eye most with two stunning goals.
“If there is something worth noting about this performance it is the attitude and ambition displayed by all the players,” he told Marca.
“This was a game that we may have entered with a more conservative approach given our first leg victory. However, the desire to put on a show was evident in every player.
“I take my hat off to the players. They were exceptional in the first half and played with great intensity and to a very high level. Their attitude is remarkable and this needs to be recognised.”
Villa, who has struggled to produce his best form since suffering a badly broken leg at the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, had been linked with a move away from Camp Nou.
But Roura offered a ringing endorsement of the experienced striker, the strongest indication yet he will remain with the club.
“Villa’s goals were great,” he said.
“He is an exceptional player and he had a great match. It has showed us what we all know, that he is an important player for us.
“He’s a real goal-scorer and bit by bit, he’ll get back to his best level and be even more important for us.”
Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta echoed Roura commitments, and drew attention to the warm reception Villa recieved from fans and his team-mates on Thursday.
“The public’s reaction and that of his team-mates was excellent,” he was quoted as saying by AS.
“It’s not just the two goals he scored though, he’s such a high-quality player.”
Zubizarreta also claimed the club is making progress in contract negotiations with goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
“The conversations we’ve had with his agent and with him are going well. I won’t talk about rumours,” he said.