Barcelona striker wants patience from fans

David Villa
David Villa scored on his Barcelona return against Real Sociedad. Photo: PA

Barcelona striker David Villa has called for patience in a bid to rediscover his form and repay the fans for their overwhelming support.

After eight months on the sidelines recovering from a fractured tibia, Villa returned to action last month under new Barca boss Tito Vilanova.

After coming on as a 75th-minute substitute, Villa took just nine minutes to make his mark, scoring the final goal in a 5-1 Primera Division rout of Real Sociedad at the Nou Camp.

A further 15 minutes followed in a 2-1 win at Osasuna before pulling on a Spain shirt again last Friday, this time requiring 10 minutes to get on the scoresheet from the penalty spot after replacing Fernando Torres in the 52nd minute of a 5-0 friendly thrashing of Saudi Arabia.

For Villa, it is a case of slowly working his way back to full fitness as he said: "I feel good. I'm finally feeling normal after such a long time.

"I'm being named in the team, I'm available to play, and I'm getting some minutes on the pitch.

"But I need more time. I've been recovering for months, almost eight months without competing, and getting back to form requires time.

"So I have to be patient because I won't be able to help anyone if I rush things now. Everything I've lost so far won't be won back no matter how hard I work.

"Also, the club and the fans gave me a lot of support throughout my recovery. At times it was almost overwhelming. I want to return the gesture."

With Champions League football looming next week, Barcelona face Getafe on Saturday, but will be without key midfielder Andres Iniesta who pulled the adductor muscle in his right thigh during Spain's 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Georgia on Tuesday.

Jordi Alba is a major doubt as he has flu for the game against a Getafe side who pulled off a shock 2-1 home win over Real Madrid last month.

Madrid boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Sevilla on Saturday with a clean bill of health following the international break, while other games see third-placed Malaga host Levante, with Celta Vigo travelling to a struggling Valencia side who have collected just two points from their opening three games.

On Sunday, second-placed Real Mallorca head to bottom of the table Osasuna who have yet to pick up a point, although Mallorca's new defensive signing Geromel said: "We must stay focused because it will be a very difficult match in Pamplona.

"The team must stay together and we must do everything possible to get the three points."

Also without a point, Espanyol host Athletic Bilbao, while Deportivo La Coruna head to Granada, Real Sociedad take on Real Zaragoza and Atletico Madrid, who thumped Chelsea in the European Super Cup nearly a fortnight ago, host neighbours Real Vallecano.

The final game of the weekend is on Monday when fifth-placed Real Valladolid are at home to Real Betis.