Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has claimed Jose Mourinho’s past criticism of referee Wolfgang Stark caused the official to favour Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Parc des Princes. The officials allowed a Zlatan Ibrahimovic equaliser that looked clearly offside, while Alves’ team-mate Sergio Busquets said afterwards the referee had “only relaxed” when PSG were back in the game. Stark sent off Madrid’s Pepe for a foul on Alves in a Champions League semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu in April 2011. After Barca had won that game 2-0, Mourinho named a series of referees he said had harmed his teams in the past and suggested that there was a pro-Barcelona conspiracy. Asked on Wednesday whether he felt Mourinho’s comments from two years ago had influenced Stark’s performance this week, Alves said: “Yes.” “This began where it began, and the protests, in the end, influence the referee,” he said. “They start to think that if they whistle for something, or not, they will be seen badly by the coaches. “I think there was a clear foul on me, as had happened at the Bernabeu – but as this was Dani Alves, the actor, then it is nothing. They would have to break my leg for something to happen. [But] in the end the Champions League [trophy] is in Barca’s cabinet and a replica is in my house.” The Brazil international said that if Barca’s players complained about referees they could be punished or mocked, but somebody needed to point out that serious mistakes had been made. “We cannot complain,” Alves said. “But the people outside [not footballers], who if they are punished it does not matter, are the ones who should come out and protest and ask for explanations. “It is impossible that an offside by two yards is not seen, but we cannot come out and protest. Then they say we are cry-babies, always complaining. But we are not fools.” Moving on from the referee, Alves said Barca had deserved to beat PSG, having put in a much better performance than they managed when losing 2-0 at AC Milan in their previous Champions League away game. “I am happy enough with the result, although I agree that the game left a bitter-sweet taste, because it could have been better,” he added. “We are very happy with how we played, how we competed. It was much better than the previous round. There was a great game where we played the better football, but in the end that is what the Champions League has.” Barca’s other players would have to step up now that talisman Lionel Messi faced a – reportedly short – spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury, Alves said. “It was a fright, but it could have been worse,” he explained. “We can compete without him if he is not there. For us, too, it is a challenge. I do not doubt my team-mates. I know we can do it with him or without him.” With Barcelona short of centre-halves after Javier Mascherano joined Carles Puyol on the injury list in Paris, Alves said he was happy to play there if required. “I have already played as a centre-half with Guardiola, when we played with a three-man defence,” he said. “I will try and adapt to whatever I am asked to do. I will be here for what the coaches want me to do.”

Alves: Mourinho influenced PSG ref


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