Tough preseason will benefit Barcelona, says Vilanova

The 42-year-old is determined to get his team fully match fit ahead of the new season, and feels playing friendlies against quality sides will prove helpful in the long run
Tito Vilanova is confident Barcelona will reap the rewards of a tough preseason schedule once the 2012-13 campaign gets into full swing.

The Catalan powerhouse locked horns with Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend, while it will face Premier League giant Manchester United next on Wednesday, and the coach believes his men will only benefit from being handed such early tests.

"I prefer a tough preseason, so that we quickly get up to the level we need to be at," Vilanova stated at a press conference.

"What we wanted from the game against Paris Saint-Germain was that the players regained match fitness. I gave them time on the pitch according to how much time they had got in training.

"[Lionel] Messi played the whole game because he felt good. Our aim had been to give him as long as possible and he felt good and wanted to finish the game."

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