Cesc Fabregas's second season
back at Barcelona will be an improvement on his first, coach
Tito Vilanova predicted on Saturday following the former Arsenal
captain's indifferent start to the 2012/13 campaign.
Fabregas began with a bang last term after returning to his
boyhood club but his form tailed off and Vilanova's predecessor
Pep Guardiola overlooked him for some key matches in the
Champions League and La Liga.
The 25-year-old performed well for Spain at Euro 2012
playing in a roving forward role but has yet to make much of an
impression for Barca this season and watched Wednesday's Spanish
Super Cup defeat to arch rivals Real Madrid from the bench.
"The second year is always better," Vilanova told a news
conference previewing Sunday's La Liga match at home to Valencia when asked about Fabregas's form.
"I am convinced he will have a great season," added the
43-year-old, who was promoted from assistant coach when
Guardiola announced he was leaving the club at the end of April.
Barca's Brazilian full-back Dani Alves trained normally on
Saturday and may be available for the Valencia game after
pulling out of Wednesday's Super Cup return leg at the last
minute due to a leg injury.
Vilanova said a decision would be taken on Sunday as to his
fitness and he would also consult club doctors on whether to
risk captain Carles Puyol, who fractured a cheekbone in last
weekend's 2-1 La Liga win at Osasuna.
The Spain centre-back will have to wear a face mask if he
features at the Nou Camp as the early leaders look to maintain
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