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Football | Champions League

Tito Vilanova © Action Images

Barca boss unrepentant over defence

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is refusing to consider signing taller players despite his team's ongoing problems in defending set-pieces.

The tournament favourites were overpowered by hosts Celtic in a 2-1 Champions League defeat on Wednesday when Barca's decision not to sign centre backs in the last transfer window was again exposed as folly following injuries to the backline.

Victor Wanyama headed in Celtic's first midway through the opening period and Tony Watt scored a second after a quick break before Lionel Messi pulled one back as Barcelona failed to convert their domination into goals.

"We could sign taller players but I like to have fun when I'm on the bench and this is the way that we play," Vilanova told reporters.

"We have suffered from set-pieces after losing Eric Abidal and Seydou Keita but we can only try to attack more and not let them have any corners."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon hoped the victory, which moves his team to within two points of Group G leaders Barcelona, will restore pride in Scottish football.

The country's other traditional powerhouses Rangers have been demoted to the fourth tier after going into administration and Craig Levein was sacked from his role as national team manager after Scotland's miserable start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

"This is a great footballing country with great history whether it be club wise or nationally and it has produced some of the greatest players to play the game," Lennon said.

"It's had a lull but when we came into this competition we wanted to gain respect for the players, for the club, because it has a great reputation, and for the game here and I hope that it's given the game a huge boost."


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