Dani Alves: 'Raise our standard'
On the eve of the UEFA Champions League last-16 clash with Manchester United, at Old Trafford, Dani Alves spoke to PSG.FR about the two-legged tie:
Dani, how is the squad ahead of the trip to Manchester?
"We have bounced back after the loss to Lyon. It's good for the confidence, even if we know these European matches are completely different. The match against Bordeaux is not the same as the match against Manchester United. We were focused first on Bordeaux and now we turn attentions to Manchester. The demands of this game will be completely different and we will need to be perfectly focused from start to finish."
How did you see the group stage?
"We started with a negative result at Anfield, and then we raised our standard in the competition, when we needed to show everyone just how strong we are. The return match against Liverpool confirmed that. Then when we needed to get a win away, we did that too. We qualified in top spot in the group and now we have the return leg in the last-16 at the Parc des Princes. That's an advantage, of course, but we have to focus on the first leg in Manchester."
What will be the key to victory?
"I think we have to learn from the mistakes we've made in the competition in the past and not make the same mistakes again. We don't play many Champions League matches , so there isn't much room for error. We need to build on what we do well, because we have big ambitions in this competition. We need to raise our standard of play, our concentration, our impact in challenges, but we know what we have to do and we will do it. Obviously it won't be easy, they won't be doing us any favours. We are going to have to fight for each other to qualify."
The Champions League really is a special competition...
"You experience some amazing things when you play in the Champions League. I remember Di Maria's last-minute goal against Napoli - it was incredible. There have been other strong moments like that, but now we have pay attention to every single little detail, to avoid needed to score a goal in the final seconds of the match, for example. We have to make sure it's our opponents that are in that situation."
The team learnt a lot from the loss at Anfield...
"Without a doubt - that's what I meant. We have to mearn from our mistakes. Against Liverpool, we made a few mistakes, but we overcame them. But we can't afford to make any more mistakes in this competition. We have managed to create our own playing identity after that match against Liverpool, and we finished top of the group. We need to look after every little detail now to avoid any regrets. But we also have confidence in our own strengths ahead of playing Manchester United."