Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has spoken about the shock that came with the news that Tito Vilanova was to step down as manager of the Catalan club.

Vilanova left his role at Barca last Friday after it became clear that his illness was going to make it too difficult to continue working.

“Nobody expected it," Puyol said at a press conference. "The team has been left very affected. The news we have received is very difficult, but this is an illness and the person is the most important,” 

Last season saw the Barcelona manager miss extended periods of the campaign as he received treatment in New York, and now he has decided to step down.

An unbeaten home run and record-matching 100 points ensured yet another La Liga title, but his illness has evidently had an affect on his players, as Puyol explains: “Tito is very much in the thoughts of those in the dressing room. He asked us to continue to fight as he would do.”

The Spain international then discussed some of the main candidates to fill the vacated hot seat, including his former team-mate Luis Enrique.

“All the names that are coming out are capable of training this team. I am sure they will look for who is best for Barca. You all know that I have a good relationship with Luis Enrique, who is one of the candidates, and he is capable as are the rest of the names.”

With a month to go before the defence of their league crown commences, Barcelona will be looking to appoint Tito Vilanova’s successor sooner rather than later.

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