Alba praises ‘face-to-face’ Lopetegui

Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba has praised Spain boss Julen Lopetegui for his “face-to-face” approach, in a possible dig at Luis Enrique.

AS reported on Sunday that Lopetegui had “recovered the best” Alba, who has fallen out of the first-team picture at Barca since their switch to a 3-4-3 formation, and the left-back suggested he preferred the former after a campaign in which “I haven’t been able to play the games that I would’ve liked”.

“Israel? It was important for the national team and I. We had a great game, but it can always be improved,” he told reporters, according to the newspaper.

“Lopetegui? When you don’t get the minutes that you want, it’s clear that for me to come here, it’s always been a prize.

“I’ve talked to Julen and he’s shown me support at all times. He’s also told me some negative and positive things, but the fact that he says these things to your face is appreciated.

“Barca? It’s clear that on a sporting level, the team are still in all three competitions.

“Playing or not playing, I have to be with the team. I’d like to have played more than I have this year, but that goes for all players.

“At the end of the day, I haven’t said anything bad. It’s normal to want to play every minute of important matches.

“Unfortunately I haven’t been able to play the games that I would’ve liked, but I‘ll keep working and giving everything for both my national team and club.

“Ultimately, we all like doing things face to face. [Lopetegui] tells you the negatives and positives to open your mind and teach you what can improve on.

“In that respect, Julen has been with me 100 percent. I’ve already said that it’s vital for me that the Coach is like this with me in difficult moments which haven’t happened before. I’m grateful.”

Tags Jordi Alba Julen Lopetegui Spain