Jordi Alba has taken teammate Lionel Messi’s side amid the internal struggles at Barcelona.
On Tuesday, sporting director Eric Abidal told Spanish newspaper Sport that Barcelona players had been guilty of poor communication and a questionable work ethic under ex-manager Ernesto Valverde. Messi hit back quickly on social media, challenging his former teammate to “name names” while noting that “directors need to take their responsibilities, too.”
Some calm was restored Wednesday when club president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke with Messi and Abidal. Following a long meeting, it was decided the club would stick with the sporting director, according to The Guardian’s Sid Lowe.
But when Alba was prompted to speak about the situation after Thursday’s 1-0 Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao, the full-back told Reuters, “This club gets enough shit thrown at it from the outside so we shouldn’t be throwing shit at ourselves.”
Alba added: “Abidal was a player. He is loved by the fans and that’s why he should know what it’s like inside the dressing room and how players feel.”
Quique Setien, who succeeded Valverde as Barcelona boss in mid-January, has now overseen two defeats in six matches at the helm. The loss to Bilbao means La Blaugrana cannot reach a seventh straight Copa del Rey final and improve their record of 30 titles in the competition. In La Liga, Real Madrid currently hold a three-point advantage in first place.
Barcelona are also preparing to face Napoli in the last 32 of the Champions League with few attacking options after losing Luis Suarez for four months due to a knee injury and offloading Carles Perez to Roma. The first leg will kick off in Italy on Feb. 25.
“Everyone knows what they have done well and what they have not and now we must keep working,” defender Gerard Pique demanded after the Bilbao setback. “We need to stop biting our nose to spite our face because that won’t help us.
“We built this club on victories and we must do that again. We are working toward doing that, we are playing better, we’re adapting to the ideas of the coach and the dressing room is as united as ever.”