Villa: I have always felt important at Barça
David Villa has expressed of his pride at scoring his 300th career goal in Barcelona's 3-1 reverse of Alaves in the Copa del Rey.
Borja Viguera had given the visitors a shock lead in the 17th minute, but Adriano equalised ten minutes before the break at Camp Nou. Villa scored a second-half brace as Tito Vilanova's side eased to a 6-1 aggregate win to progress to the fifth round.
It was the Spain international's 39th strike for Barça and the seventh of what has so far been a frustrating campaign for the former Valencia striker. The Catalan heavyweights have been wary of overusing Villa, who spent eight months out with a broken tibia, and last night was the first time this season he played the whole game.
"I had not played 90 minutes," said the 30-year-old. "The 301 goals make you think that you've done well and makes you feel proud."
Vilanova hinted that Villa could be given more first-team opportunities in the coming weeks.
He said: "I think David has done well, has scored twice and has completed 90 minutes. He has been playing regularly and every day I see an improvement.
"He has worked extensively with (physio) Emili Ricart over the summer. Every day I see him do better. We try to give him every minute possible."
An ankle injury has delayed Villa from making a full recovery and the striker feels he is ready for more action.
"There has been a small break in terms of recovery," he remarked. "But it's normal, I'm recovered and I've trained well all week. I have always felt important, even when injured. Barcelona have always shown me a lot of love."
Villa repaid some of that affection on Wednesday night in what turned out to be a tricky night for the league leaders. Alaves top the Segunda Division and they certainly took the confidence gained by their impressive start to Catalunya.
"They played very well," Villa said. "They have proven to be a great team and came to Camp Nou to enjoy themselves. We struggled a lot in the first half and it has been a tough game despite the result."
Vilanova was surprised by Alaves' approach to the contest, believing they would play a more defensive system.
"They played different than how they have been playing regularly and I had to make changes," he said. "They played two more midfielders so we could exploit them down the sides. There are no easy games, but people think otherwise."