Thiago: 'I can play even better'

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Thiago Alcántara is in his fourth season with FC Bayern and has now reached a level that sets fans’ tongues wagging in every game. The Spaniard has six goals and five assists to his name this campaign, and even struck again with his head in the 3-0 DFB Cup quarter-final victory over FC Schalke 04 on Wednesday. The 25-year-old has spoken with on his new level of maturity, the team’s impressive form and the upcoming game against 1. FC Köln.

8-0 against Hamburger SV, 3-0 against Schalke – Two impressive performances in the space of five days. Have you all finally hit your stride?
Thiago: “It’s never simple to adjust to a new coach’s style and show it on the pitch. You have to find your place first and work on it, but now we’re playing the way the coach wants. We’re a team with a lot of quality, who like to have the ball and attack with real verve.”

You are an essential part of the way this team player. Are we seeing the best of Thiago right now?
Thiago: “I don’t know, but I feel very good on the pitch right now. Nevertheless, I feel I can play even better. We have so many great players in the team, and I learn from them and the coach every day.”

You scored your sixth goal of the season last time out against Schalke – the most you’ve ever managed in a season. Where has this goal-scoring ability come from?
Thiago: “I don’t want to waste too much time talking about that. We should just let it keep happening and playing as we are. It’s great whenever I score, but the most important thing is that the team wins.”

Have you become more serious and determined in your game?
Thiago: “I think it’s normal to become more focussed over time. You become more mature with every game, with every training session and every passing year. I’ve also learnt through my injuries that you have to take care of your body. That’s why I regularly train privately with some teammates. I also watch what I eat and made sure I get enough sleep.”

What role has Carlo Ancelotti player in your development?
Thiago: “Carlo is a great coach. He’s won everything with different teams. He’s been in charge of over 1000 games as a coach, so you can’t be much more experienced than him. He gives us belief – it’s a joy to play for him and I sense his trust, which is important.”

The next game is on Saturday in Cologne. How difficult will it be there to build on the recent top performances?
Thiago: “It’ll be a tough game. Köln may have lost some ground in the table, but they are still fighting for those top places. They have a forward who is on fire in the form of Anthony Modeste, so we have to really be careful and play our best football to pick up our next win there.”

What sort of difference does it make for you to play at home or away?
Thiago: “It’s always amazing to play in front of our own fans at home. The Allianz Arena is always sold out and the fans always support us, but I can also say it serves as motivation to play against a tough opponent away from home in a hostile environment.”

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