Jordi Alba: “This is a favorable draw”
Asked for his opinion on drawing Carlo Ancelotti’s PSG, the nouveau-rich Parisians, Jordi Alba voiced his overall satisfaction, though he cautioned that Barça still has “a lot to learn from the matches against Milan if they are to advance to the semifinals.” While admitting that there are no easy teams left, even more important than the opponent itself is the fact that Barça will be playing the return leg at home, just as had occurred against AC Milan. The Catalan left back reflected that “this is phenomenal since playing the second leg at the Camp Nou gives the team a lot more possibilities.”
Barça will be up against the familiar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, though the Swede will miss the first leg because of suspension. As a result, Alba pointed out that “Ibra’s absence will diminish PSG’s aerial threat.” Wanting to avoid making any comments on a hypothetical Clásico, Alba was quick to tell journalists and fans alike not to get ahead of themselves. Alba reminded us how “last year there was a lot of talk about a Barça-Madrid final and then neither one ended up making it.”
Alba also praised Rayo Vallecano ahead of Sunday’s La Liga match at the Camp Nou. “Rayo is a team that likes to keep possession, but at the same time, is aggressive without the ball. I really like how they play” asserted Alba.
Finally, Alba discussed the historic comeback, insisting that on Tuesday we saw “the real Barcelona.” A key part of the defensive back three, Alba was much more hesitant when pushing forward. Having been told to stay back, he provided Pique and Mascherano with assistance so the defense didn’t become too vulnerable. Alba was delighted with his goal and considers it “one of the most important” since AC Milan was on the offensive during the last ten minutes and it provided a much needed sense of relief. He drew attention to the improvement in the team’s pressing, an intensity that was missing during the first leg. “The team must continue playing with this same intensity and strength” Alba claimed.