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The Brazilian freely admits that the Blaugrana are not playing their 'best football' but he is of the opinion that they have added an extra dimension to their play this season

Dani Alves believes that while Barcelona are less spectacular than they have been in recent seasons, they are now more solid at the back.

The Blaugrana have made a record-breaking start to their Liga campaign, winning 10 of their opening 11 games, but there has been noticeably less emphasis on 'Tiki-Taka' and slightly more focus placed upon direct football and defensive responsibilities.

Alves, for his part, believes that the subtle change in philosophy brought in by new coach Gerardo Martino is a positive, as the right-back feels that it has brought greater variety to Barca's play.

"Statistically, we're doing a spectacular job, but we're not playing our best football compared to past years," the Brazilian acknowledged.

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"But we're on the right track. If we don't concede goals, our chances of winning are higher. Plus, we don't need 18 to 20 passes to reach the opposite box now.

"In life and in football you always have to try to improve. Before we were one-dimensional but now we have alternatives to our play.

"But our overall philosophy hasn't changed; our foundation is the same."

Alves was speaking ahead of Wednesday's eagerly-awaited Champions League clash with AC Milan, a side that the Catalans ran into in both the group and knockout stages last season.

"Milan are almost like family," the 30-year-old defender joked. "We've faced them many times. Historically, they are a great team."

Meanwhile, Alves also had his say on the recent controversy caused by Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who indicated that he preferred Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Blatter does not decide the winner of the Ballon d'Or," he reasoned. "But everyone can have their own opinion and like a player more than other one."

Barca go into their game against Milan at Camp Nou knowing that victory will seal their place in the last 16 of this season's Champions League.

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