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"Criticism motivates me, it makes me better. It’s like an injection of adrenalin that makes you want to become a better player. Praise makes you complacent”. That was straight-talking Dani Alves speaking at his first press conference of the season this morning at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, at which he added that “I’m just feeling positive. This year’s challenge is wonderful".
On Luis Enrique’s arrival on the Barça bench he adds that "it is a pleasure to work for someone like Luis, he makes big demands of us. He has raised our hopes.” Alves also admitted that he has been unhappy with his form over the last couple of seasons, and says that “I accept my part of that responsibility … I am one of those people who believes I need to show my worth every day. That’s part of our profession”.
"The less confidence people have in me, the more motivated I am” he says, while adding that he wanted to speak to the new coach to be sure that his services were still required. "If he’s counting on me, then I’m counting on him. It’s a two-man thing. Now I have to work as hard as I can … And whatever they say, it’s a nice challenge. We want to win and be the best, that’s the challenge. And we’re preparing ourselves to achieve that.” In this regard, the full-back has been especially impressed by the fitness programme that the players have been going through during the preseason.
The arrival of so many new players “has not prevented us from having a clear idea about our proposal” he says. “But we do need to get into rhythm, because that’s how you seize the moment and improve. Teams that want to win titles always want to improve. The basic thing is to have an idea, and we have one. Now we just have to put it into action.” He agrees that what he calls ‘reformulations’ are just what the team needed and hopes “that the new players do what is expected of them. And I’m sure they will because they’re great players and have the same desires that we do”.
As for Luis Suárez, Alves commented that "it is a pleasure to have him here to do for us what he did for Liverpool and does for Uruguay. That’s why we signed him". He was also asked about his compatriot Neymar Jr, and replied that "last season he needed some time to adapt but he’s getting a better understanding with Leo every day and I’m sure he’ll be much better this year”.
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