Spain Coach Vicente del Bosque insists “it’s impossible to bring everyone” to Euro 2016 but assures “we called up the best players we could”.
The likes of Isco, Saul Niguez and Fernando Torres were omitted from Del Bosque’s 23-man squad for the European Championship, prompting criticism in the way of the former Real Madrid boss, but the latter hit back as he felt not enough attention was being spared on those who did receive call-ups.
“We’re fine and in optimal condition. I have confidence in this group,” he told AS.
“We have a clear idea of how we want to play and I only need to name the team. The players are all alike and have great potential, then there are some differences.
“It’s not the same if we play with [David] Silva instead of Lucas Vazquez or Koke instead of Thiago [Alcantara] or Cesc [Fabregas], but everyone can play.
“In principle, we’ll play with 4-1-4-1. But at some point, or in certain games, we’ll have other possibilities.
“Yes, I’ve thought [about putting Sergio Busquets and Bruno Soriano] together. We want and need alternatives, but we want to start [the tournament] more attacking.
“[On leaving out the likes of Saul Niguez, Isco, Mario Gaspar and Fernando Torres], we’ve picked a balanced squad for our needs and called up the best players we could. That’s it.
“There’s no animosity against anyone. [The absence of] Saul has drawn attention, as has [those of Juan] Mata, [Paco] Alcacer, Diego Costa and Torres.
“If we look at our midfield, there’s Busquets, Bruno, [Andres] Iniesta, [Mikel] San Jose, Cesc, Thiago, Koke, but only three will play! It’s impossible to bring them all! What’s hardly been discussed is the 23 who have come.
“[On calling up Cesc, Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta], Chelsea didn’t have a good season, but I think Cesc did. Azpilicueta also had a good season and Pedro [Rodriguez] is Pedro, a player whose always done well for the national team.
“I understand that the Press and the fans need explanations, and I attempt to fulfil that responsibility. We also know that criticism of the squads have been more or less answered.
“Sometimes [the criticism] relates to the colours [teams] of each person and their feelings rather than reality.
“We, the coaching staff of the national team, are more objective. We’re not guided by colours but only by doing what we believe is best for the team.
“[On Hector Bellerin instead of Mario], the Three players we had for that position were Juanfran, Mario and [Dani] Carvajal, but the calendar led us to make decisions.
“As soon as we saw Bellerin, we no longer needed to call up Mario. It was a situation in which, by its very nature, we did what had to be done because Bellerin is also very good and is like any other player who has been called up.
“Any of them could be here if we had to resort to them for an injury to a companion.
“It’s not just about making a team, you have to make a squad. You have to train with two players per position. If not then it becomes a mess. This group are intended to resolve any emergency at any moment.
“[On Busquets, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique being key], it’s because if these three are at their best and play with passion and enthusiasm, it’ll rub off on everyone else, and that trust, confidence and personality in those positions is crucial for the team.
“We’ll see [who starts in goal]. [Iker] Casillas, [David] de Gea and Sergio Rico have had three good training sessions, then comes the time to pick an XI.
“[France and Germany] have different styles, but I have great respect for them, plus England because they have fantastic potential. These three teams are very strong, but Spain are the defending champions.
“[On Spain’s progress impacting on whether or not he stays], I don’t think so.”