Pedro Rodriguez has reflected on his turnaround in form and how Barcelona and Spain deal with ‘uncomfortable’ defensive opponents.
The Barcelona man has scored seven goals for La Roja since the start of the season, which is a run at international level reportedly only bettered by Neymar with Brazil.
“Yes I am very happy, but not for me, but the team itself. I am satisfied that my run with La Seleccion, because each time I play more minutes I feel more comfortable,” he told AS today.
“I believe it is my best time with the national team, I’m helping the team with my performance and goals.
“I’m having more luck in front of goal with Spain than I am with Barcelona. I feel very good and very comfortable in both teams, but it seems that I have more fortune with Spain. To score goals you always need a bit of luck.”
It is a marked difference for club and country compared to last season, when the player struggled with form and fitness.
“The difference to last season? Confidence. Last year was irregular for me. I had injuries, there were big games in which I did not play and it affected my confidence.
“Yes, I thought it would never be the same again, that crossed my mind. In those moments you think many things that go through your head. But I kept working and I am glad at how things have gone.
“At the end of the season was when I said I have to change, when I saw that going to the Euros was very difficult.
“I never dropped my shoulders and now I have the good fortune to enjoy the confidence of the Coaches of two teams that it is just as difficult for a player.”
Part of that difficulty lies in opponents’ increasing preparedness to play highly defensive formations against Barca and Spain.
“People get used to always winning, to perfection and thinking that that is reality. And it is not, to win every game costs a lot. Each team has great players, technical class. Really, every game is different.
“Opponents’ defensive tactics? They can be annoying and uncomfortable, but we know that we have to adapt to this style of play.
“All the teams are retracted, close the spaces and seek to make use of a counterattack or dead-ball situation. We have to be aware of this circumstance. We would like for the game to be played better, as a one on one, but everyone has their weapons and we have to work to compete with what is against us.
“We know we have to be patient, keep the ball, but sometimes you do get desperate. There are games where you dominate and wonder how it can be. At Barca and with Spain we know how to achieve victory and that is to maintain our philosophy.”
That philosophy of possession-based play has been criticised in some quarters as boring in itself.
“For us that is hard. We are supposed to play nice football, with touch, what people want. There are opinions for everything and everything is respected.
“We believe in our philosophy and we think for the good of the game it is best to play well. Most people think this way.
“Am I bored? No! These are the most enjoyable years for playing football.”