Vilanova: It's about the team, not Messi

The Blaugrana coach has urged supporters to get behind the team as they look to secure a memorable comeback from their 4-0 first-leg deficit against the Bavarians
Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova has insisted that his side will not be relying on Lionel Messi in their Champions League semi-final tie with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The Blaugrana must overturn a 4-0 deficit from the first leg at the Allianz Arena and Vilanova that the clash will not in the four-time Ballon d'Or winner's hands alone, while hailing Gerard Pique's affect this campaign.

"When I said that without Pique we would not be the same team, I mean it. His season has been excellent. The fact that we have conceded goals has to do with the fact some players have been injured," the 44-year-old told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

"We know how important Messi is in our team especially when it comes to scoring goals. The better he plays, the better for the team. But we cannot put all the pressure on his shoulders, the rest of the team also has to help him. Obviously Messi will have a lot to say in tomorrow's match."

Vilanova acknowledged that reaching the European final would be difficult but has faith that the catalunya club can restore some pride following last week's mauling in Munich.

"I expect that we will be ourselves - that we will try to be better than Bayern," he added. "We know we have to score, I know we can do that.

"We should be ourselves - that is the important thing. Scoring goals but also playing good football. It is very obvious we cannot concede, it will make it that much harder, but we have to get goals as well.

"The players are aware of the difficulty of the match. We are Barcelona and we cannot take this tie for being lost already. If we do not make it, we have to hold our heads high, fight until the end and have our fans feel proud about us.

"We know we need the fans. It is not the same to have a quiet stadium compared to a stadium full of people cheering. Bayern had everyone cheering for them and that helped them without a doubt. But we cannot always ask the fans for help, we also have to give them something back in return."

Vilanova also revealed that the tie comes too soon for Javier Mascherano to make his return from injury, and explained that a decision over Sergio Busquets' fitness will be made after training on Wednesday.

"Mascherano will not be able to play tomorrow. He needs six weeks to recover and only four have gone by, so he will not be in the team," he added.

"Sergio Busquets and some others are still suffering from minor injuries. We will see after the training session if Busquets is fit to play. "