Xavi Hernandez says Spain's status as World and European champions 'means nothing' ahead of their World Cup 2014 qualifier in Georgia.
The Barcelona playmaker was candid in his assessment of La Roja's qualification group, admitting they will have to guard against complacency if they are to make the tournament in Brazil in two years time.
“Being World and European champions means nothing,” he told a press conference ahead of the Spaniards opening fixture in Tbilisi tomorrow evening. “The group is still a complicated one. We've seen Georgia and they are a tough opponent – they close down well and have players with a lot of talent.
“They have a large pitch, so that's good for our football. It's not going to easy for us to be in the World Cup, although we may take that for granted.
“We won't vary our philosophy. We want to dominate, go on the attack, with football that brings great joy to the fans. We respect the opponents, knowing what their strengths are, but we won't lose the humility that has led to our success.”
Asked if being defending champions provided extra motivation to qualify, the 32-year-old responded bluntly.
“It motivated me to be in the national team – a winning group that plays fantastic football. A big event like the World Cup in Brazil is important, but I don't think that's an extra motivation for this team.”
He concluded by congratulating Vincente del Bosque, who will beat Miguel Munoz's record of the most games in charge of the Spanish national team on Tuesday.
“Congratulations to him. He deserves it. The Coach is the key for selection and keeping the group in harmony. He is key to our success.”