Vicente del Bosque believed patience was the key to Spain’s 1-0 World Cup qualifier victory in Georgia.
The World and European champions had to wait until four minutes from time to grab the decider courtesy of Roberto Soldado, and the Spain Coach felt it was reward for his team remaining true to their style of football.
“Our aim was to win but you have to appreciate how difficult our opponents made things. It was not a question of being nervous, but having patience and playing in the most orthodox manner possible because we could have been exposed to counter-attacks,” Del Bosque told assembled media.
However, rather than berate his players for not being able to break down a stubborn Georgian defence sooner, he showered praise upon Spain’s opponents.
“I’d like to praise Georgia’s extraordinary performance. They made it difficult for us, had lots of enthusiasm and defended all our attacks in the centre and on the wings.
“In that sense it was not an easy game but we got the three points and that was important to us.”
Nonetheless, Del Bosque claimed he was not surprised at the Georgian tactics.
“We knew it would be a different game to the one they played the other day against Belarus, that they would sit back more and look to use the speed of their forwards to hit us on the counter-attack.”
Del Bosque had caused a surprise before the game with the inclusion of Soldado, leaving Fernando Torres on the bench, but it was the introduction of substitutes Cesc Fabregas and Pedro that eventually swung the balance.
“We had several options to try and break them down and it’s true that Cesc and Pedro moved well between the lines, with intelligence, and in the end the gaps appeared.
“Even so, we did not want to lose our shape and try to assert our authority before we had a scoreline that favoured us.
“The differences in football are getting less every day and we have to play a qualifying round. We must not be thinking of anything else,” he concluded.