Barca coach hails Villa return

We missed him as he guarantees goals, admits Vilanova

David Villa: Back on the pitch for Barcelona alongside Saturday's goalscorer Lionel Messi

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has welcomed the return of David Villa to the side after eight months out injured.

The Spain international fractured his tibia during December's Club World Cup and missed the rest of the season, including his country's Euro 2012 triumph.

But the forward made his long-awaited return as a 73rd minute substitute during Barcelona's 2-0 friendly win over Dinamo Bucharest on Saturday and Vilanova admits the 30-year-old was missed.

"Last year we missed him because he's a player that guarantees goals," Vilanova told the club's official 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 the Barca players on target in Bucharest and Vilanova has been pleased with the performances of his side in pre-season

"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."

Barcelona kick off their Primera Liga season on August 19 at home to Real Sociedad.