Vicente del Bosque has assessed Spain’s Confederations Cup opponents, his side’s limited centre-forward options and his demands for Javi Martinez.
La Roja are currently in the USA preparing for friendlies against Haiti and Republic of Ireland before heading out to Brazil for the Confederations Cup campaign in mid-June.
Ahead of that, the team’s head Coach gave an in depth interview considering a number of topics, including how Spain are continuing to struggle to find a regular centre-forward for the first team.
Last summer’s Euro 2012 campaign saw debate and criticism levelled at the Spanish team for their deployment of a ‘false 9’ in attack, creating a centre-forward-less formation.
“Sometimes it is necessary to play with a 9,” began Del Bosque to Diario de la Roja.
“We understand that a team must play with a 9 for the use of the position. I think that it is because a team needs it.
“But for a while now, possibly out of our own fault, we have not found a centre-forward that we have all liked.
“They have had the opportunities, Negredo, Soldado, Torres…Villa has also struggled to excite everyone…if we had a centre-forward for the position…
“It is one that dictates that a centre-forward may go an entire game without touching the ball, scoring a goal and everyone saying ‘this guy, how about it, he has scored a goal!’ and he’s been through the game without touching the ball!
“We need players involved and that they are in the rest of the game.”
The Coach commented also looked at Spain’s Group B opponents this summer – Uruguay, Nigeria and Tahiti.
“Uruguay have two class strikers. Cavani and Luis Suarez are in the plans of all the clubs.
“Besides them, they have a team that knows the trade well, from back to front. They are workers, they are strong, they will not fold under pressure.
“And while their World Cup qualification chances are looking hard, Godin, Lugano and company were fourth in the last World Cup, which was not so long ago.
“Nigeria have people who with the ball are lively, they go forward boldly and have nothing to lose. It is the last match of the group and I hope, if all goes well, we arrive for that in a comfortable situation, without stress for the third game.
“But this is not definite. We would have to beat Uruguay and Tahiti to get there almost qualified for the knockout round.
“Tahiti? We have looked at a number of videos that are not very informative because they are playing on poor pitches.
“We expect that they will not be a tough opponent, but we are not underestimating anyone.”
Del Bosque has included Bayern’s Martinez in his 23-man squad, marking a return for the midfielder after recent omissions from the national side. For his Coach, there is room in Martinez to improve.
“I am not mincing my words. I think that he still has a chance to give more. He has to be more involved in Bayern’s game, have more influence in his play.
“The other day he played well in the final, and he is now a champion of Europe, and that is something, and he has been a permanent fixture.
“When we dropped him from the squad it was because we did not like the way he was playing, but there is no problem because he is a nice guy and you want him around, because he is a good lad.
“If we have not selected him previous, it has been purely for football reasons.”