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Nov 9, 2012

Alves: Barca don't need a Plan B

Barcelona defender Dani Alves says that dominating possession but losing games is of no interest to him, but the Catalans will not be changing their philosophy to try to find a Plan B after the Zlatan Ibrahimovic experiment failed two seasons ago.

• Netherton: Barca the real winners

By some measures Barcelona had 97% of the ball in the second half of their Champions League group game at Celtic on Wednesday night, but still could not score until injury time and lost the game 2-1.

When asked by reporters Friday morning to explain how this could happen, Alves dismissed the question.

"Do not say anything to me about that because we lost the game," Alves said. "That is our philosophy, which has enchanted the whole world. Barca and football have been united, but when you do not win, of course, the debate about a Plan B returns."

Alves feels it would not suit Barca if they were to bring in a tall striker to allow for a more direct option.

"The other year we had a Plan B, a big guy with quality, and what happened? He is not here because he did not suit our style," he said. "What suits us is to improve our Plan A, not to have a Plan B."

Barcelona were boosted by Carles Puyol's return to full training on Friday, with the defender recovering ahead of schedule from the dislocated elbow injury he picked up at Benfica in September.

"His capacity for recuperation does not surprise me anymore," Alves said. "He is our captain, and there is a reason for that. He represents this team. It is always a joy to have him back, but we know he must return bit by bit and be careful."

Puyol is not expected to feature for Barcelona in Sunday's La Liga game at Real Mallorca, with Gerard Pique more likely to make his first start in two months alongside Javier Mascherano in central defence. Other changes to the XI beaten in Glasgow could see Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas and David Villa returning to Tito Vilanova's starting line-up, with Marc Bartra, Alex Song and Alexis Sanchez likely to drop out.

Alves should start at right-back, although his place in the team is coming under increasing pressure from youngster Martin Montoya, who was on Friday called into Spain's senior squad for the first time.

Alves said he was confident of reclaiming a regular role and that injuries had affected his form so far this season.

"I had started well and then after the injury I have had some days without playing," Alves said. "Nobody likes that, but it is too early to judge the season. I am not happy with my performance. When you do not play much, and you are used to playing, it affects you. I am working to get back to full match fitness, which is the only way everything else will arrive."

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