24 October 2012 02:16
Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova has praised his players’ commitment and patience after they pulled off a late 2-1 win over Celtic.
Jordi Alba’s 94th-minute goal secured victory for Barcelona over a brave Celtic side, keeping the Catalan club’s 100 percent record intact in Group G of the UEFA Champions League.
Vilanova rejected the idea that Barcelona was lucky to win after the home team took 26 shots for the match with 13 testing Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
“It says a lot about these players that they keep on trying until the end,” Vilanova said after the match.
“They have already won everything but they just keep on going.
“Lucky to win at the end?
“I think it was rather bad luck, that we couldn’t finish it earlier.”
Vilanova also praised 21-year-old defender Marc Bartra, who played just his ninth match for Barcelona’s senior side.
Bartra, who is more known as a full-back, slotted into central defence alongside Javier Mascherano against Celtic.
“They told me more than a week ago Pique wouldn’t get ready for the game,” Vilanova said.
“I knew since then that Bartra would play this one.
“Bartra is a first-team player because I wanted it.
“We had the money to sign a centre-back last summer but I told the club to save it.”
Celtic head coach Neil Lennon expressed his pride in his players’ performance in Barcelona after they took the lead in the first half only to concede the equaliser just before half-time.
“I’m disappointed for the players and immensely proud of them,” Lennon said.
“They were brave and they stuck to what we asked them to do, they didn’t lose their composure when they were under pressure.
“We knew we would lose the ball at certain times but they didn’t concede any ground when they did.”