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Mar 28, 2013

Tello glad to have Tito back

Barcelona winger Cristian Tello has said the players missed coach Tito Vilanova while he was away but accepted he needed to ease his way carefully back into his full duties.

• Tomas: The leader is back

Vilanova returned to the city on Tuesday after two months of medical treatment in New York. While there, he had overseen team affairs remotely, and is gradually returning to full-time work.

He is not expected to travel with the side for Saturday's La Liga game at his old club Celta Vigo, but could be at the Parc Des Princes for next Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

Wednesday's training session at Ciutat Esportiva, which saw the return of Barca's internationals except for the sidelined Pedro Rodriguez and Xavi Hernandez, was taken by assistant coach Jordi Roura.

Tello told reporters afterwards that he and his team-mates were delighted to have their boss back and understood that his health was the primary concern.

"I am very pleased with his return," he said. "We need him. He will ease into his time with the team.

"The important thing is that he recovers well. His absence has been noticeable because the presence of the head coach is always very important, [although] Roura has done a spectacular job as stand-in coach. We were very united when he was gone."

Barca will not ease up at 19th placed Celta despite their 13-point lead in the Primera Division, Tello said, adding: "We are very focused on the league.

"Each match is a final for us, and we want to win as many points as possible. Celta are fighting for their lives, and they will be a difficult opponent to beat."

The Sabadell-born attacker declined to enter the debate around PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic having a two-game ban halved by UEFA, meaning he will be able to play on Tuesday.

"That is a UEFA decision," he said. "PSG were already a dangerous rival, and even more so now with Ibrahimovic on the pitch.

"They have a great team, both in defence and going forward. Their counter-attacks can be devastating."

Tello again displayed his own potential with two goals and an assist in Spain Under-21s' 5-2 friendly win over Norway, but has been used mostly as a substitute or in Copa del Rey games for Barca this season.

A long-term contract signed earlier this season raised eyebrows as it kept his buy-out clause at €10 million.

Tello, a former Liverpool target, said he was happy to keep improving alongside his current blaugrana teammates.

"I am very pleased with my season and the confidence shown in me by the boss," he said. "In my position, we have the best players in the world. I would like to continue learning at their side."

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