Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has defended Lionel Messi after the forward failed to score in their 3-1 win over Celta Vigo.
Goals from Adriano, David Villa and Jordi Alba on Saturday helped the Catalans move three points clear at the top of the La Liga table.
Vilanova leapt to the defence of Messi, who missed several chances in his side’s win.
“I think Messi has been good. We don’t have to look just at the chances he missed. Everyone can miss the chances he missed today,” Vilanova said.
“Sometimes he scores, and other times he doesn’t score.”
There was tension at Camp Nou late on as Messi went down clutching his knee, eventually walking off the pitch to sit out the rest of the game after a few minutes of treatment.
Vilanova defended his decision to start Messi despite the Argentine star missing training on Friday.
“He felt good. He told me he was good and fit to play. So, if he tells me he is ready to play there is no problem,” Vilanova said.
“I understand perfectly that he really wanted to play and score a goal and I am sorry he didn’t.”
The result meant Vilanova became the first coach in Barcelona’s history to lead the club to nine wins from their opening 10 league games, a feat he was keen to play down.
“I think the most important thing today is the three points we have gained, much more than the record,” Vilanova said.
“It is just an anecdote. We haven’t won nothing. We haven’t got a trophy.”