Gerard Pique snubs reports of clash with Barca manager Tito Vilanova
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has rubbished reports suggesting he and Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova sit on opposite sides of a fence. The Spain international has shot down speculation claiming a rift has been formed between the player and the manager because both men have different approaches on how Barcelona must improve this summer.
Gerard Pique claims he has a “phenomenal” relationship with Tito Vilanova. The 26-year-old center back demanded immediate “decisions to be taken” after Barcelona suffered a painful 7-0 exit on aggregate from the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Tito Vilanova took a lighter approach on the matter. The man who replaced Pep Guardiola at Nou Camp joked about the situation in his Friday’s press conference claiming Gerard Pique “was not counting himself on the list of changes”.
Barcelona are clearly fighting to preserve their image. Security at Nou Camp was instructed to remove a banner saying “ResPePct” during the 4-2 La Liga victory over Real Betis on Sunday. The banner referred to the former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
Gerard Pique claims he did not expect to media make such his and Tito Vilanova’s comments such a huge deal.
“I just said that some decisions should be taken, but I was talking along general lines,” Gerard Pique said. “On a personal level for each individual so we could take a step forward and try and be better and work more so that next season we can try and reach Bayern's level. The tie showed they are a step ahead of us.”
Gerard Pique further revealed that before leaving Barcelona for Manchester United in 2004, he used to play in a youth team coached by Tito Vilanova. The center back claims he and Tito Vilanova have been close ever since.
“I do not see what he said [on Friday] as directed at me,” Gerard Pique added. I have a phenomenal relationship with Tito. He was my coach when I was 15 years old. I appreciate him a lot, and have the highest respect for him as a coach.”
Barcelona are currently on the verge of reclaiming their La Liga title from Real Madrid. As a matter of fact, Blaugrana will celebrate their title with a victory on the weekend.