Jordi Alba admits he no longer feels the confidence of Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique, having found his place in the first team under threat.
The left-back has been a casualty of Luis Enrique’s switch to a three-man defence and was left out of Sunday’s 4-2 win over Valencia at Camp Nou, as well as the historic 6-1 Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain.
There have been claims in the Spanish media that part of the decision to change the system has been a concern over Alba’s form, and the former Valencia man has found himself linked with a move away from the Spanish champions in recent weeks.
Alba, who was nonetheless called up by Julen Lopetegui for Spain’s World Cup qualifier with Israel and friendly against France, has now conceded that he has found life at club level frustrating of late.
“I feel the total confidence of the boss here [in the Spain camp], which for me is a compliment and something that fills me with confidence. It’s something I’m not having at Barcelona and that I’d maybe like to have,” Alba, who turns 28 on Tuesday, told Movistar+.
“To come here and to have the confidence of Julen gives me a lot of strength. He asks me what I’ve been used to doing in the national team and at Barca in recent years. I notice the trust of the boss and the technical team is at 100 per cent.”
Alba insists he will not seek a direct explanation from Luis Enrique over his reduced role but is confident that that he could play in a 3-4-3 set-up.
“All players want to have continuity, to have minutes,” he said. “It’s true that I’ve been more involved in the last few seasons [than now], but those are the decisions of the coach. When I played, I did not ask for explanations, and I won’t do that now, either.”I have to work and give everything and when I’m given minutes I have to take advantage of them, as I have always done.”I think I can play with three defenders. I’m capable of doing it. Obviously my strength is going up and down the wing – that’s what has given me the opportunity to play for the national team and at Barcelona.”
“But in the end it’s the boss who decides so I have to bring the best out of myself in order to be able to play in any system.”
Alba also offered his backing to the prospect of assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue taking over the top job for next season, with Luis Enrique having confirmed he will step down at the end of his contract.
“He knows the house well, like everyone who’s here, but in the end it’s the club who have to decide at the end of the season, or before, who the coach will be next season,” he added.