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Nov 18, 2012

Vilanova: Barca not a one-man team

Tito Vilanova has dismissed suggestions that Barcelona are a one-man side after Lionel Messi scored twice in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Real Zaragoza.

• Blog: Unstoppable Messi
• Five-star Madrid, Messi inspire Barca

Messi, 25, took his Barcelona goalscoring tally for the season to 22 in all competitions with strikes in the 16th and 60th minutes, and also turned provider in the 28th minute to help summer signing Alex Song open his account for the club.

The Argentina international's contribution is clearly key but Barca coach Vilanova is adamant the club's success is not only down to the forward.

He told reporters: "It's no great revelation to say that Messi is decisive, but Leo doesn't win games by himself.

"You have to create chances, know how to defend... It's too simplistic to say Barca is just Messi. Leo is very good but we need all the players because only one cannot win a game."

Barca went into the match having earned 34 points from a possible 36 this season and their triumph ensured they are top of the Liga table, boasting a six-point lead over Atletico Madrid, who play on Sunday.

Vilanova said: "Whenever we have a match, I always think we can win it, but the truth is that winning 11 games in a row is a great run. The team is where it is this season because the players are hungry to win."

The match was also marked by the returns of Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, who played together for the first time since April with both players having suffered injuries.

"Having Puyol and Pique back makes a big difference," Vilanova added. "(Javier) Mascherano had played too many games in a row. They'll really help us."

On Sunday lunchtime, Barcelona confirmed that defender Marc Bartra has been ruled out for up to three weeks with a hamstring strain.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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