Weakened Barcelona side can still beat Benfica, says Vilanova

The 44-year-old has chosen to rest a number of senior players after securing their qualification for the last 16, but he believes his team can still beat the Portuguese side
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has refuted claims that his side will not be competitive when they face Benfica on Wednesday, despite a number of senior players sitting out the encounter.

The trainer has chosen to rest the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas for the Group G encounter but he claimed that his side will still be trying to win and deny the Portuguese side a chance of reaching the knockout stages.

"We will present a competitive team. It's an important game because we are still representing the club," he told a press conference.

"It's the Champions League and there are teams that are still playing for qualification.

"It's a Champions League match and we will try to make the best of it. A Champions League match is always important."

David Villa completed his return from injury with his first full 90 minutes for the first team against Alaves on Wednesday, but Vilanova refused to say if the striker would get another full match under his belt against Jorge Jesus' side.

"He looks good. He only played a full match once and he is still not quite fully fit. During the minutes that he has played he has done well and has scored goals.

"During the year there
many matches and he is a very important player for us."