Alves hoping for Zlatan hot streak

BY foxsports • March 25, 2010

Barcelona defender Dani Alves hopes Zlatan Ibrahimovic's recent strikes over the last few days will herald a goal rush for the giant Swede.

Ibrahimovic started the season in fine form following his big-money move from Inter Milan, netting in each of his opening five Primera Division games and boasting a tally of 12 goals from his first 18 appearances in La Liga and Champions league.

However, he then scored just one goal in nine appearances either side of the Christmas break, the solitary strike coming in the Copa del Rey defeat against Sevilla.

Goals in successive matches against Atletico Madrid and Stuttgart in February seemed to have brought that barren spell to an end, but he then went four more games without a goal and found himself back under the spotlight.

The 28-year-old got his name on the scoresheet in Sunday's clash with Real Zaragoza though, netting a late penalty in a 4-2 win, and he enjoyed more success on Wednesday night with the opening goal in the 2-0 triumph over Osasuna.

Alves said: "When Ibra scores we're happy, we're very pleased for him.

"With this goal I'm sure he will regain confidence. He's a striker who thrives on scoring goals. I'm sure that from now on he will help us even more with his goals.

"We hope that he continues with this form and scores the goals that make him so happy."

Unlike against Zaragoza when his side were already leading, Ibrahimovic's 73rd-minute strike against Osasuna was crucial as Barca were struggling to break down the Pamplona-based outfit.

Ibrahimovic said: "I'm happy. I played well, I scored and we've won the three points.

"The most important thing is that the team won. It was a difficult game but we played well.

"It's not been the best game of the season but we won.

Talking of his recent scoring drought, Ibrahimovic added: "I've not gone through any difficult moments, but it has been a little tough."

Barca coach Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, admitted he had made a mistake with his tactics at the start of the game as he tried to experiment with a new idea.

"I wanted to try out something, I wanted more mobility from the front two, and it didn't go well," he said.

"We didn't have the fluidity that I thought we could have.

"We played very badly in the first half, but in the second we corrected the problems and were ourselves again."