“If we continue with this coach, we can go very far,” was the prediction made by Barcelona’s right-back Daniel Alves made about his boss, Pep Guardiola, in a press conference held yesterday at the club.
“He is a coach who always transmits positive feelings in the players. He is the key that enables this team’s success. He has the ability to extract the best from each and every one of us.”
“What is certain is that there will be no slowing down, because he always instils in all of us that everything is possible.”
Alves added that to do otherwise and trying to live in the past, would be “living a false existence” because neglect and sloppiness could creep in.
“If you are satisfied coming home after every match by doing just enough then you’ll never get anywhere. You need to keep on improving yourself a little more than your opponents to keep on winning major titles.”
Touching on his coach’s renewal, the player admitted to finding it difficult imagining a Barcelona without Pep Guardiola in the future, but opted “not to dwell too much on the issue.”
“We need to take pleasure in all of the times that he has been here.”
Reiterating the coach’s words during the team’s first training session after the holidays, Alves said, “We know what we did was something great, perhaps only time will tell how big it is. We are already a part of the club’s history, but it is necessary that we keep on working because we do not live in the past but the present and future. We can still add more pages to this history book.”
Along with Maxwell and Milito, the Brazilian has cut short his vacation to join the team’s training earlier: “It’s just that I missed my teammates, my leave was too long and besides that, we are going to lose players to the African Nations Cup, and we need to keep on improving.”
With Keita and Touré virtually absent for the entire month of January due to the tournament, Alves advises that Thiago Alcantara and Jonathan dos Santos – two of the four Barca Atletics players summoned by Guardiola to train with the first team, to take the opportunity to learn from and follow in the footsteps of the two Barcelona midfield maestros.
“Iniesta and Xavi are brilliant examples to follow and these young guys have the future of Barcelona in them.”
Asked if he thinks that Pep needs to do some shuffling with the team’s formation, Alves is confident that there is no need for any: “The quality that we have in this team won’t necessitate that.”
Finally, asked if he feels any differently facing his former team, Sevilla – which Barcelona will meet three times in the month of January, Alves said that he’ll always remember his time there “with affection because I was a part of the best years of the team.”