Isco: Lopetegui lets me roam

Isco has enthused at his freedom on the pitch for the Spain Under-21s under Coach Julen Lopetegui, even if opponents are proving stubborn.

The Malaga playmaker has reflected that he is enjoying his freedom of movement for La Rojita during this summer’s UEFA Under-21 Championship in Israel.

“I am very lucky that Julen Lopetegui gives me total freedom to move where I like,” Isco told UEFA’s official website in an interview this week.

“I think this is one of the keys to our team. Our attacking players aren't static, there is a lot of movement in order to create space within which to pass.

“This helps us cause our opponents more problems.”

Spain are already into the semi-finals ahead of Wednesday’s final group game against the Netherlands, but have been made to work, with both previous wins in the tournament against Russia and Germany decided by single Alvaro Morata goals.

“It's taking us a bit of effort to close out games. The style we play has led to us creating a lot of chances and we could be finishing off matches sooner.

“However, the goal is eluding us a little. Having said that, the most important thing is that we've managed to break through in one way or another and are now in the semi-finals.

“The whole world knows how Spain play. The footballing philosophy preached by the senior Spanish team is one that also applies to us.

“Our opponents apply a very high and intensive defensive line. That's normal as they know us and realise how we like to move the ball. They want to avoid us harming their defensive line.

“Are we favourites? You must earn the tag of favourites on the field. I say that, because in any given game you can perform badly and things can go well for the opposing side.

“I think up until now in the qualifying phase and the finals we have shown [why we can be considered favourites].

“The competitive nature of this tournament is incredible. There are spectacular players here who are already playing in the Champions League with their clubs.

“The finals are a fantastic way for us to display [our talent] and we are going to do our best to win.”

Isco has come into the tournament off the back of a noteworthy season with Malaga, that saw the Anchovies reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League as well as finish sixth in La Liga.

“Malaga were brilliant in the Champions League. I don't think anyone expected us to perform as we did.

“We were rubbing shoulders with the best teams in Europe and it wasn't obvious that it was the first time we were playing in this great competition.

“Was I a boyhood Malaga fan? I was a season-ticket holder for a few seasons and have always suffered along with the team. Now I am lucky to play for them.

“Coming from Malaga and being a fan meant it was a source of huge pride for me to make history with them in the Champions League.

“It was something the club never experienced before, so I was very happy to be part of it.”

Tags 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Isco La Rojita Lopetegui Spain Under-21s