Vicente del Bosque has admitted that he doubts his decisions from time to time and is open to criticism, whilst he confirms his retirement plan.
The Spain Coach has won the World Cup and European Championship with La Roja, but has revealed that he has been less assured than appearances suggested in making some of his decisions along the road to success.
“Of course, in football you question things even when you win, right? In the last European Championships we played virtually from the off without an orthodox centre-forward,” he recalled to FIFA’s official website in the second part of an interview published today.
“We preferred to use a player who’d drop deep to link up and would play a part in creating attacks, but who could get in the box too. At the time we had our moments of uncertainty too. It’s not easy. I don’t think anyone should be certain that everything they do is right. I question a lot of things.
“I also listen to the criticism and I value it. You can’t turn a deaf ear to what people say and in some cases, of course they’re right. The thing is, we’ve got a bit of an advantage now because we all know how that situation turned out.
“The day we played against Italy [in the opening group game], we had come up with that solution because of [Andrea] Pirlo. Perhaps it didn’t go all that well for us that day [in a 1-1 draw], but we improved as the tournament went on. In fact, when we played Italy again in the final [Spain won 4-0], we sent out the same starting XI as that first game.”
The Coach reflected that his work with the national team will likely be his final in the game.
“I said that for age reasons. I’m 61 now and I’ve got little more than a year here before my work with the national team comes to an end.
“It’d be very difficult [to take on a club role], as I honestly don’t see myself still coaching at 70! That’s why I’ll most likely call it a day after this.
“The difference between club and country work? We’ve played 16 games this year and, when you compare that to the 50-odd matches that clubs play, it’s a pretty conclusive piece of data.
“At club level you have day-to-day contact that enables you to gradually improve certain areas of your team. At international level you get less time to work.
“At a club you get to work with the players more, but there could also be more conflict. Here with the national team that’s less likely.
“You might get the odd disappointed face because someone didn’t get a game or someone else might lose their temper, but you don’t get that daily interaction that makes your life really difficult. Those are the biggest differences.”
Del Bosque was asked what he says to new players arriving in the Spanish national team.
“During the first conversation, the first meeting that I have with them as a matter of course, I always tell the new player to try and feel at home. I tell him that he’ll have plenty of support, he won’t have any problems and that he’ll fit in straightaway.
“It’s just a formality, because I know the squad regulars will treat the new guy like he’s been involved for ages. In fact, all the players that come in say that very thing. We don’t have major problems in that area.
“And pressure? I think that they are all ready to handle it. They’re not kids anymore. They’re young lads but they’ve cut their teeth in the game.
“What’s more, we’ve not had any lads who’ve come into the squad and got nervous. And the very youngest players, they’re good because they’ve got confidence and daring. If they were shy and retiring they’d find it very hard. They’re mature for their age.
“Certain players fit in easily because they quickly accept what their role is. It’s the best thing such a young lad can do. It’s about showing respect to the most experienced guys, showing the humility and behaviour that earn them the appreciation of the other players.
“And that’s how we go about seeing that we can start using them at any given time. They earn their shot; all we do is call them up. The case of Jordi Alba is a good example: we have to be ready when players like this emerge. With him the chance came in the full-back position, where [Joan] Capdevila had performed extraordinarily well for us. We put our faith in Jordi and he responded fantastically.”
Speaking elsewhere today, the Coach also made clear his hopes for Andres Iniesta to win the Ballon d’Or for Spanish football and his admiration for Michu.
Iniesta is shortlisted alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or, with the winner of the award set to be announced in January.
“I wish it was Iniesta, who represents Spanish football, and in recent days I have argued that our football would do well to be rewarded,” commented Spain Coach Del Bosque to Movistar, before reflecting on his own nomination for Coach of the Year.
“All awards are good, we must receive them with optimism and pride, it does not hurt, Guardiola received it last year and facing the world is good. Also, for Coaches, the challenge of going abroad is one that is so much the better for all.”
The Coach was also asked of Fernando Llorente and David Villa’s difficulties this term in getting regular football for their clubs.
“They are two different situations – the first has to do with something a little outside of football, which is Llorente’s case. He has said that he wants to leave the club and it has not been taken well by Athletic, understandably. We hope it is resolved.
“The other case is that of Villa and is less problematic. He has a Coach that has many players but in the end David is secure and will continue to play because he has a large stake at the club.”
Villa and Llorente’s respective troubles have been met with improved form from a number of other Spanish national strikers.
“Right now we have a few strikers, but from Negredo, Soldado, Aduriz, Iago Aspas, Michu, apart from Torres and Villa, there are people in the running for future seasons. We try to be fair, it is not just about goals.
“For me, Michu has great value, he is playing for a team and not on the final line, not as a pure striker, and he is getting a lot of goals, as he did at Rayo Vallecano.”