Photo: La Barca Coach Vilanova
While stunned by the sudden departure of ailing coach Tito Vilanova, the FC Barcelona squad knows winning on the field is the best way to honor him, captain Carlos Puyol said Monday.
“The team was left shaken and is still shaken,” the defender said of Friday’s surprise announcement that Vilanova was stepping down to to begin a new course of treatment for the throat cancer first detected more than 18 months ago.
“He talked to us, he showed us that he is very strong, with enthusiasm to fight, and that he knows will we be at his side every moment,” Puyol told reporters after the team’s first workout since news of the coach’s resignation.
“He asked that we give our all, that we battle. (He said) that he will as well and that the best way to help him would be to go all-out for this club and win the maximum number of matches,” the captain said, recounting Vilanova’s meeting with the players.
The defending La Liga champion is expected to name Vilanova’s successor later on Monday.
In the meantime, Puyol said, the players continue to practice under the direction of Vilanova’s staff.
“We have a playing philosophy and it’s certain that they (Barça directors) will seek a manager who is adapted to these characteristics,” the captain said.