Roura: Life is easier with Messi
Jordi Roura admits Lionel Messi has lifted a significant burden off his shoulders at Barcelona after the Argentine scored a brace in his side's 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Messi, 25, took his season tally to 42 goals in La Liga, remarkably finding the net for the 18th consecutive league match.
Barca maintained their 13-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid and Roura insists the three points were never in doubt with Messi on the pitch, despite his side feeling the effects of Tuesday's Champions League win over Milan.
"Life is a lot easier when you have Leo Messi," he said. "You have to enjoy it on a daily basis when you have the best player in the world on your team.
"Tonight's match was great, especially after the fatigue from the Milan game...the fans got to watch an entertaining game. Our goals were scored from counterattacks, that's not very normal when we play at home.
"We are in a good position to win La Liga, but we need to take this one step at a time and not rush things."
David Villa opened the scoring for Barca, continuing his recent impressive run of form which has been recognised by his employers.
"There are no doubts about his importance," Roura said. "Villa has always been important and he's helped us a lot these past couple of weeks. The most important thing is that Villa is doing well. It's a great joy for us to see him score because he brings a lot to the team."
Villa believes his ability to combine well with Messi in attack has helped stake his claim for a regular starting berth.
"I like to be able to help the team with my goals," Villa said. "I want to keep on scoring and giving the most of myself. I'm happy that I was able to help Messi score, we understand each other well.
"We felt the fatigue due to the effort we put in on Tuesday, and it was even more noticeable tonight because Rayo are a demanding side. They wanted the ball and they forced us to press them. We've never lost sight of what we had to do, we simply picked up a couple of bad results."
Barca captain Gerard Pique says the key to his side's consistency this season has been respecting their opponents, no matter how many places separate them in the league.
"We have enough experience to know that these matches are not easy at all and that we needed to be just as intense tonight as we were on Tuesday [against Milan]," he said. "Rayo worked hard and they made it difficult for us.
"At times, depending on the rival, you need to adapt your style of play. We know what football is like, one week you're the best team in the world and the next you're the worst. We know how to measure ourselves and we know it's important to be coolheaded about it. We're going into the final strecth of the season in top physical condition."