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The Blaugrana sporting director has praises the forward's contributions to the club over the last few years, and believes he will rediscover his best form in time

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has backed striker David Villa to get back to his best.

The Blaugrana claimed a 4-1 victory over the Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou and are now nine points ahead of them at the top of La Liga.

The Spain star rose from the bench 10 minutes from the end of the encounter to a standing ovation, and Zubizarreta believes that he will rediscover his finest form with a little support.

"The public are very wise, they know when players need applause. They have been with Villa, with Adriano, etc," he told reporters.

"His goals have made us and will continue to do so. Villa has given us a lot and will continue to give what he has. His work rate, effort and so on."

Reflecting on the match, the 51-year-old stated that his side did very well to quell Diego Simeone's side's threat on the break, and feels the Catalans are well-placed to challenge.

"They hurt us on the counter. They have a lot of play, resources and character. We're fine. If the season before we could sign to reach this point in the season we would have done so."

He then went on to comment on Lionel Messi's current level of performance, and joked that his history as a goalkeeper makes it painful to watch the Argentine.

"We are used to him scoring two goals, and he has scored 90 [overall in 2012]. Those of us who are goalkeepers, as I already said the other day, are suffering. He has the ability to put it where nobody else can."

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