Vilanova hails 'well-loved' Villa
The Spanish international fractured his tibia during last season's FIFA Club World Cup and made his long-awaited return as a 72nd-minute substitute during Barcelona's 2-0 friendly win over Dinamo Bucharest.
"Last year we missed him [Villa] because he's a player that guarantees goals," Vilanova told the club's website. "He's very necessary to the side.
"I spoke with the doctors and the physios before playing him against Dinamo. It is very important for us to recover players, especially if they are well-loved like Villa is."
Lionel Messi and Ibrahim Afellay were on target in Bucharest and Vilanova has been pleased with the performances of his side.
"The team is playing at a good level ahead of the start of the league," he continued. "We have had a group of players that have trained for two solid weeks."