La Liga news

Dani Alves calls for 'smarter' Barca

September 20, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Dani Alves has suggested that Barcelona's players need to be smarter on the pitch as they come to terms with new coach Gerardo Martino's tactical tweaks.

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Martino has made better "pressing" a key part of his plan to improve the side’s performances from last season, while also looking to add more directness to their approach.

The Blaugrana players do not all yet look completely comfortable with these ideas, as evidenced by a patchy first-half performance in Wednesday night’s comfortable 4-0 Champions League Group H win over Ajax at the Camp Nou.

The Brazil international told Barca TV show El Marcador that he and his team-mates needed to make better decisions during games about when to press high up the pitch and when to drop deeper.

"We need to be more intelligent [against Ajax in the first half]," Alves said. "If we could not press forward to perfection then perhaps we needed to take a step back and organise ourselves better, because we left a lot of space open at the back and they could have hurt us badly. We spoke about it in the second half and things improved."

Alves said that it was a positive that Barca -- who have so far this season won the Spanish Supercopa and all four of their La Liga games -- could keep winning while they made the changes to their style.

"We are still in transition as we seek our best version and it is evidently not easy," Alves said. "I think we are on the right track. Although we have made adjustments to the team, we are still winning."

The former Sevilla defender echoed recent comments by team-mate Gerard Pique that the changes were necessary but also the new approach was not really that different from that which had been so successful under Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

"What we are doing is not so different," Alves said. "But we are introducing new things to counter certain teams that just come to defend. We are looking into ideas for creating more goal-scoring chances."

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