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Rediff.com  » Sports » Barcelona coach Vilanova back on bench in Paris

Barcelona coach Vilanova back on bench in Paris

Last updated on: April 02, 2013 11:42 IST

Coach Tito Vilanova, back after undergoing cancer treatment, will return to the bench for Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Paris St Germain on Tuesday.

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"He will be in the dugout with us," Vilanova's assistant Jordi Roura said.

"He's the coach and his comeback is extremely important for us," added Roura who has been in charge in his absence.

Tito VilanovaVilanova flew back to Barcelona last Tuesday following two months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in New York.

Striker David Villa echoed Roura's views by saying: "It's always easier when the boss is there with us".

Barcelona will also have playmaker Xavi and defender Jordi Alba back after recovering from hamstring injuries they sustained on international duty with Spain.

However, centre back Carles Puyol is out injured and versatile forward Pedro is suspended.

"Any absence is a blow in this competition but we'll do our best for them not to be noticed," added Villa.

Roura said Barcelona would again rely on their usual slick-passing approach.

"We won't change the way we play even though PSG are good on the counter attack," he explained.

"We are used to playing against opponents who bank on defence but I don't think they will just wait in their half - they will try to do more than that."

Roura said his team would have to be extra vigilant to cope with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is the top scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 25 goals.

"He's a great player and we'll have to keep an eye on him at all times," added the assistant coach.

Barca, who are 13 points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid in La Liga, had to come back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit to down AC Milan in the previous round of the Champions League.

"The Milan game showed us what not to do," Roura said. "We have to put in 100 percent in terms of a physical performance and in terms of intensity."

Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

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