Alexis: Vilanova vital for my Barcelona career

The former Udinese star has hailed the influence of the club's former coach following his fine start to the 2013-14 season, having netted four times already this term
Alexis Sanchez has revealed that Tito Vilanova convinced him not to leave Barcelona in the summer transfer window after a difficult 2012-13 campaign.

The Chile international was heavily linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer after he struggled to find his best form last term, but he eventually opted against a transfer as the club's former head coach told him that he still had a role to play at the Catalans.

"Tito has played a big role in my career," Alexis told Sport.

"I had a difficult year, but he always supported me and told me not to leave.

"He insisted that I should stay at Barcelona and ignore everything that was being said about me in the press."

The 24-year-old Alexis has been in fine form for the Blaugrana this term, netting four goals in six La Liga appearances, while setting up three more.