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Football | Spain

Jordi Roura © Action Images

Roura 'in constant contact' with Tito



Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura has revealed that he is in contact with absent coach Tito Vilanova during the Catalan club's matches.

Vilanova hasn't been able to attend Barca's last four games as he undergoes treatment for cancer of the salivary gland in New York.

However, Roura insisted Vilanova still plays a big part in the team's preparations for every game as well as consulting with Roura on in-game decisions.

"The contact via phone and the internet is constant. He is fine and has access to all the information which allows us, despite the distance, to communicate on everything," he said.

"There is a video system that even allows him to watch the training sessions and we speak during the games and at halftime."

Barca's preparation for this weekend's clash with Getafe has however been further disrupted by the majority of their players being away on international duty and the scheduling of the game for midday (1100 GMT) on Sunday.

It will be the first time Barcelona have played at that time since the slot was introduced at the beginning of last season, but Roura doesn't believe the early start should affect their performance on the field.

"It affects the preparation for the game. We believe it was better to take the players in today so that we have dinner and breakfast at the right times," he said.

"But the kick-off time is the same for both teams and I don't think it will alter anything other than the preparation.

"There are many variables that have an impact when it comes to picking the team and one of those is whether a player has had a long journey. We have spoken about it with Tito and we will decide what is best."

One of those who was involved on international duty on Wednesday was David Villa.

Spain's all-time leading scorer remains a major part of Vicente del Bosque's plans but has struggled to regain his place in the Barca side since breaking his tibia over a year ago.

Roura though insisted that the management team are happy with Villa's contribution and that he will receive more playing time as Barca chase three trophies in the coming months.

"What we have always said is that we are delighted with David," he added.

"He has come through a difficult process, he is improving all the time and will continue to play more. There is no issue with Villa."

Xavi is the only major absentee from Roura's 20-man squad as he has a hamstring injury, while Eric Abidal is also not included despite returning to training this week after a 10-month absence following his liver transplant.

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