Mascherano: Tito must carry the pressure
Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano believes the major challenge for new coach Tito Vilanova will be dealing with the added pressure now he is in the public spotlight.
Vilanova spent four seasons as assistant to Pep Guardiola, who stepped down at the end of last campaign, but has no previous experience in a full managerial role. And Argentina international Mascherano believes that could come as a shock.
"Tito will now carry the pressure," he told AS. "Until now he was a lower-profile coach and all the responsibility fell on Guardiola. Now he has to assume the main role.
"With the move from assistant to manager he has gained notoriety. Today all the attention falls on him but he has always been an important part in the success of the team. Every one of us ought to respond in the same way."
Mascherano, however, thinks Vilanova could be helped by having a well-rested Lionel Messi for the first time in a number of seasons.
Messi played alongside Mascherano in the Copa America last summer and has represented his country in major tournaments for three of the last four years, but has not played a competitive match for over two months this time round.
"He has returned in good shape," Mascherano said. "It is true pre-season matches are to remember the habits, but the fact he has had a month's rest has been proven to have an effect. This season he will be fresher."