U-21s: Bartra on defensive strength

Marc Bartra has reflected on why Spain Under-21s are so strong in defence and warned Denmark that they won’t be taking Tuesday’s game lightly.

La Rojita are in a commanding position heading into the second leg of the play-off match against the Danes for a place in next summer’s European Under-21 Championship in Israel.

The 5-0 scoreline in the Spaniards’ favour was also notable for being the team’s eighth clean sheet during the qualifying phase. In the group stages, only France conceded as few as the two Spain shipped.

“We have conceded very few goals and it is due to the defensive line, but also down to pressure applied by the whole team,” Barcelona youth Bartra reflected to the Spanish Football Federation’s official website.

“We have conceded just twice and that means a lot. We are pleased by the defensive work in the qualifiers.

“The best way to defend is to have the ball. The more you have it, the fewer occasions the opponent will have, whilst it will also provide us with many opportunities to attack instead.

“Jordi [Amat], Inigo [Martinez] and I, along with Nacho [Fernandez], are happy. They are good players and we understand each other very well.

“Now I am working more with Inigo and we understand each other. That gives security to the team, when we have the ball and when we lose it to recover it quickly.”

The 21-year-old defender is one of the more experienced members of the squad, having been capped nine times at Under-21 level to add to the 21 international caps earned at previous youth levels.

“Every time I am called up, I really enjoy it, for the atmosphere with my teammates. I have had the opportunity to play in places like Burgos, Cordoba and Alicante, and anywhere else that we go in Spain, and the atmosphere is so good and the support for us is important in helping us get our results.”

It is an experience with the team that has Bartra not underestimating Denmark in the second leg of the play-off next Tuesday, despite the five-goal advantage.

“We have to take the match with a lot of ambition. In games like this, where we seem to be on track, we have to play our strongest against the rival to ensure that we do not speculate, we’re going into the game not create any doubts.

“Denmark are a very good team with good players and tactically are trained to face us.”

Tags Bartra La Rojita Spain Under-21s