Barcelona left-back, Jordi Alba has expressed the feeling that the Catalan giant on Wednesday night produced their best performance of 2020 in their 2-1 Liga victory over Real Sociedad.
Barca came from a goal down to beat their opponents, who currently share the top spot with Athletico Madrid and Real Madrid. The Spanish defender felt they showed real quality and endeavour.
Barca started on the back foot after conceding to a Willian Jose goal at Camp Nou on Tuesday despite dominating the opening 25 minutes without managing a shot on target.
The hosts responded well, with Alba blasting home a fine equalizer before setting up Frenkie de Jong to make it 2-1 before half-time.
As expected, Real Sociedad improved after the break, restricting Barca to just 38.6 percent possession. But Barca restricted them from getting near their goalie, Marc-Andre ter Stegen again with his only save of note coming late when he blocked an effort from Alexander Isak.
After their back to back victories, Barca, who have beaten Sociedad 23 times in a row in home league games, are now six points off the top of the table. This was due to their first back-to-back league victories since October 1.
To Alba, the first half was Barca’s strongest showing in 2020.
“It was the best game of the year. I’m really pleased with the team’s attitude and fight. The motivation was big and we keep climbing [the table].
“They changed their way of playing. We knew it would be a difficult game against one of the best teams in La Liga.
“I get more joy from giving assists. You score one in a hundred from those types of shots. I was lucky.
“We scored soon after they got their goal and the team played a great game. We saw a great Barca, who fought for every ball,” he told Movistar.
Koeman: The win over Real Sociedad shows where Barcelona should be
Reacting to the win, Barcelonan coach, Ronald Koeman said that the win shows that the Catalan club will be where it should be.
The Dutch tactician praised the players for their attitude and intensity in the game. He said such performance shows they can recover from their early-season struggles.
“With this attitude and this intensity we will be where we should be,” Koeman said post-match.
“[It was] surely the best first half [of the season]. We were good with the ball and we pressed well.
“The second half Real played a great game. It was a high-level clash with a lot of intensity.”
Although a team can’t have 100 percent possession, Barcelona was seen playing a more reactive game after half-time. This made them to record just 38.6 percent possession as they had to protect their lead.
Moving all the way to fifth place in the table with six wins from their 12 games is an improvement to Barca. Many had ruled them out of the La Liga race after being 12 points behind Athletico.
But with the look of things, they could still catch up with Atletico Madrid, Sociedad, and Real Madrid if they maintain a high level of consistency in the games to come.
Lionel Messi was seen urging his teammate to give more to the team last night. This could be a sign that the talisman is now back to his best becoming more of a team player as he contributed to the second goal.
To prove that they are back to their best, Barca needs to match past Valencia on Saturday.