Barcelona need to maintain aggression: Jordi Alba
Barcelona must try to maintain the level of performance that they showed in dismantling AC Milan 4-0 for the rest of the season, defender Jordi Alba said on Friday.
Alba rounded off a wonderful evening for Barca with the fourth goal in stoppage time as they overcame a 2-0 first-leg deficit to eliminate the Italians and move onto the Champions League quarter-finals for a sixth consecutive season.
And after also suffering recent defeats to Real Madrid, the Spanish international believes it was his side’s aggression that helped them regain their best form when they needed it most.
“Outside of the club there was a lot of doubt, but we were all calm,” he told a press conference on Friday.
“We weren’t playing badly in these three games against Milan and Real Madrid but we just lacked the same intensity and aggression. The other day we saw the real Barcelona and now we have to maintain this level.
“We have to continue this level of play and aggression until the end of the season.”
Alba was particularly happy with his goal as it guaranteed Barca’s passage to the last eight after a nervous 15-minute spell towards the end of the game when just one goal for Milan would have been enough to take them through on away goals.
“It was one of the most important goals I have scored for what it meant,” said Alba.
“It finished the game and we had been suffering towards the end. It’s true that if we had gone out we would look at the whole performance in a different way but now we can reflect on it with great happiness.”
Friday’s quarter-final draw paired Barca with Paris Saint-Germain but Alba insisted that the Catalans’ immediate target had to be maintaining their 13-point lead at the top of the league, starting with Sunday’s visit of Rayo Vallecano.
“Now we have to try and win the league as soon as possible,” he said. “Rayo are having a magnificent season. They like to play with the ball and they are aggressive without it. I like the way they play.”
Barca will be without Xavi as he picked up a thigh injury towards the end of the Milan game and Victor Valdes will serve the second of his four-game suspension after his appeal against the ban was dismissed on Friday.