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Tito Vilanova to stay at Barcelona as manager next season

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Tito Vilanova and Barcelona lost 4-0 in the first leg to Bayern Munich. The return is Wednesday.

Speaking publicly for the first time since returning from a medical leave of absence, Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said Friday he will continue at the helm of the Spanish team next season.

Vilanova, who had last spoken in public on Jan. 19 after Barcelona lost its first league match of the season at Real Sociedad, spoke with a noticeably raspy voice, but otherwise appeared to be in high spirits.

"I have the strength to continue as long as my health allows me too,'' he said. "I never thought about quitting.''

Vilanova had surgery to remove a second throat tumor in two years in December and then spent 10 weeks in New York receiving further treatment. He coached his first game back on April 2.

"I feel fine after the process I went through,'' he said. "I didn't come back before because of the side effects like my voice, but every day I feel better and more motivated.

"When I have two days of vacation I don't know what to do. Coaching is my life. I do it naturally and it doesn't represent a burden for me. My doctors even told me that I should keep working. I will continue for sure.''

Barcelona can clinch the Spanish league title this weekend. It faces a second-leg Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich on Wednesday after losing 4-0 in the first game.

Vilanova said that the heavy loss to Bayern had not made him change his plans for the future of the squad.

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