Barcelona assistant Roura reveals team joy at Vilanova recovering

The Blaugrana head coach undertook surgery to eradicate a cancerous growth in his salivary gland and has left hospital, much to the delight of his squad

Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova’s improving health has brought delight to the dressing room, assistant coach Jordi Roura has revealed.

Since replacing Pep Guardiola during the summer, Vilanova has ensured an impressive 85 per cent win-ratio, but he has spent the past few days hospitalised after a reoccurrence of gland cancer.

However, the Blaugrana coach has been allowed to return home following surgery and Roura - who has stepped into the 44-year-old’s shoes while he recovers - admitted that players and staff were thrilled at the latest news.

"Football-wise, nothing has changed, but of course emotionally it has been a difficult few days," he told reporters after their 3-1 win on Saturday night over Valladolid.

"We heard Tito had left the hospital when we were in the dressing room. Of course, there was immense joy for all of us as a result."

Despite an improvement in health, Vilanova did not select the team which swept Valladolid aside in the club’s final game before the winter break, Roura revealed.

He said: "I talked with him today, but the line-up was already decided before."

Xavi, who was among Lionel Messi and Cristian Tello as one of the three goalscorers on Saturday night, dedicated the victory to his Barca boss.

"We dedicate this win to Tito and his family, these are very tough times for them," he said. "I am happy he's back home."