By ESPNSTAR.com staff
A magnificent hat-trick from the irrepressible Lionel Messi, in addition to goals from Jordi Alba and Cristian Tello was enough for the Blaugrana to see off a spirited Deportivo side, who replied through Luis Pizzi , Alex Bergantinos and an Alba own goal.
The Catalan giants' task was made harder by the dismissal of Javier Mascherano four minutes after the restart but despite the numerical disadvantage, Vilanova and his men managed to hang on for the win.
Vilanova was understandably pleased with the fighting spirit shown by his players and he highlighted Messi's work rate as a shining example of his side's winning attitude and commitment.
"These players, after everything that they've won, coming back from playing for their countries, and with 10 men on the pitch, they showed that they are eager to keep on winning," Vilanova was quoted as saying by the official Barcelona website.
"They showed their desire when everything was going against us, playing a man down for so many minutes.
"I'm sticking with how hard Messi worked, after playing for his country, and how hard his team-mates worked."
Barcelona played arguably some of their best football in the first 20 minutes of the game which saw them race to a comfortable 3 goal lead but Vilanova highlighted the contentious penalty awarded to Deportivo as the turning point of the game.
"Our opening 20 minutes were spectacular, it's been a long time since I've seen Barça play this way," Vilanova gushed.
"We had the game controlled and we were playing at a very high level.
"We even had the chance to make it 0-4, but then the penalty was called.
"From that point on, the game got a bit crazy."
Vilanova also jumped to the defence of Victor Valdes, who allowed Bergantinos' weak shot to squirm through his hands and into the back of the net.
"Víctor is a high-quality player, he's been performing at a high level for years, there is no doubt about how good he is," the 44-year-old declared.
Messi's hat-trick in Saturday's game takes his total goal tally so far in 2012 for Barçelona to 59, beating the record he set in 2010, when he scored 58 but the Argentina international was keen to play down the record.
"Statistics are only numbers," Messi claimed.
"I'm only concerned with winning the three points whenever possible.
"It's always important to win after international breaks because we come back tired and it's difficult to win the three points."
Barcelona will face Rayo Vallecano in their next La Liga fixture but for now, will turn their attentions to the midweek Champions League clash against Scottish outfit Celtic.