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The Brazilian's Blaugrana team-mate was sent off for bundling over Miguel de las Cuevas during the early stages of the second half at Camp Nou

Dani Alves believes that his Barcelona team-mate Gerard Pique has a right to feel aggrieved over his dismissal in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon.

Pique was issued a straight red card by referee Carlos Velasco Carballo after bundling over Miguel de las Cuevas as the striker attempted to get in on goal in the early stages of the second half.

The Spain international was enraged by his sending off and had to be restrained by Dani Alves, who admitted afterwards he could understand his colleague's frustration.

“Talking about the referees is a lost cause,” the Brazil international said on the club's official website. “[But] Gerard Pique has his reasons to be angry.”

Dani Alves preferred instead to focus on the fact that Barca had demonstrated impressive resilience and character in reducing their deficit to Primera Division leaders Real Madrid to seven points.

“We have to value the great work we did tonight," the right-back enthused. "We’re happy because we don’t have a margin of error.

“We have to keep on going with this attitude and with it we’ll keep our title hopes alive."

Given their struggles in seeing off Sporting - even with 11 players on the field - Dani Alves believes they can ill afford to lose Lionel Messi for any more matches, with the Argentine having missed the game at Camp Nou through suspension.

“It’s obvious when Messi isn’t on the pitch," the former Sevilla man admitted. "He’s the best player in the world.”

Barcelona must now turn their attention to the Champions League as they welcome Bayer Leverkusen to Catalunya on Wednesday for the second leg of their last 16 tie.

Since November, Goal.com has been publishing exclusive extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated new book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. The very last extract, which was published last Friday, looks at Andres Iniesta's risky return from injury in the 2009 Champions League Final and how he was described by Wayne Rooney as the 'best midfielder in the world'. Don't miss it!

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