Alves: This is the month when everything’s decided
Barcelona right-back, Dani Alves spoke about his side’s upcoming Champions League quartefinal tie against Spanish rivals, Barcelona and expects a very difficult tie with the La Liga leaders.
In his pre-match press conference, Alves addressed the criticism the team has received this season, despite being in the hunt for the La Liga title, in the finals of the Copa del Rey and the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
“This is our best spell of the season and this is the month when it is all decided.
“When there’s a connection, the results are good. If we’re not united, we won’t achieve our objectives. To enjoy success, the fans have to cheer the team on at Camp Nou. That’s the way I see it and I stand by it.
“This team never holds anything back. People always find something to criticise. When we win it’s because of the referee and when we lose it’s because of the referee. We will try to improve at the back of course, but we try to be different to the rest. We want to be a team that influences football, which influences children to take a risk in sport. That’s what’s put us at the top for five years. When we win titles we’re wonderful, and when we concede goals [people say] we’re a disaster, but anyway we’ll keep going.
“We have to play a very fluid game, with no breaks and plenty of possession. If we have the ball, Atlético will hardly have any chances – that’s the way forward and the only way to reach the semi-finals. Have possession and take your chances. You have to fight to achieve things. That’s why I won’t settle for a draw – I play to win. We only ever play to win.
“Atletico and Barcelona are very close at the top of the Liga but at some point that will have to change. We’re ready for them and I hope we can take a giant step towards the semi-finals.”
Alves jokingly added that “Figo always gives us the hot draw” and that “maybe he should use his left hand next time” before he addressed Atletico Madrid’s main attacking threat, Brazilian-born Spanish international striker, Diego Costa.
“Diego Costa is an incredible player, not just because of his goals but because of the way he works. I think this is a difficult match but not just because of Diego Costa. He’s an important player for them, but Atlético are about a lot more than Costa. They are a very intense team and we have to control that aspect of them.”
Alves concluded by praising and defending his young compatriot, Neymar, who has been inconsistent in his first season in Europe.
“You have to value the player’s work, not how much he is being paid or how much he cost.”