Roura delighted with Barcas special day

07 April 2013 09:46

Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura was delighted with a perfect evening for his side on Saturday as they beat Mallorca 5-0 and welcomed Eric Abidal back to competitive first-team action for the first time in 14 months.

Cesc Fabregas scored a hat-trick and also set up two first-half goals for Alexis Sanchez as Barca restored their 13-point lead at the top of La Liga.

However, the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Abidal, who made his return a year after undergoing a liver transplant.

"I would like to underline the importance of the game this Saturday," Roura told a press conference.

"It is a special date. We have been able to see the return of Eric Abidal and, moreover, after many days Tito Vilanova has returned to sit on the bench at the Camp Nou.

"It has been a very important moment for the whole squad. We already know that Eric is a very loved person by everyone. Personally, I am very happy and content."

On the field Barca coped admirably without the injured Lionel Messi and a host of other first-team regulars who were kept in reserve with Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second-leg against Paris Saint-Germain in mind.

Fabregas was the star though as he deputised in the false nine position usually occupied by Messi and silenced the criticism of some of the Camp Nou faithful who have been less than impressed with his form of late.

"When you don't have a footballer like Messi, it is unquestionable that you have a problem," said Roura

"But the squad has once again shown its enormous quality. Everyone has performed at a great level.

"Cesc adapted perfectly to this false nine position. He had an extraordinary game and it is another option that we have."

With all five goals coming within the first 46 minutes, Barca could even afford the luxury of withdrawing Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique well before the end.

However, despite starting with 22-year-old Marc Bartra alongside Pique at the heart of the defence against Mallorca, Roura refused to confirm whether Bartra would be entrusted to deputise for the injured Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano against the French league leaders.

"This Saturday we have opted for this pair of centre-backs.

"We will see from here till Wednesday which ones we will use against PSG. We need to evaluate it with Tito. We need to analyse the characteristics of the opponent and then decide.

"A back three and a midfield diamond is also an option, but we have many more."

Roura did though, confirm, that Alexis would be fit for Wednesday despite coming off two minutes from time with a slight muscle problem.

Source: AFP