New Spain Coach Julen Lopetegui warns of a difficult World Cup 2018 qualification and the needs for constant renewal. ‘We can’t live in the past.’
Lopetegui replaced Vicente del Bosque after La Roja’s disappointing Euro 2016 and with qualification for the next World Cup on the horizon, told AS that it could be a hard one for the 2010 winners.
“Spain has dominated for a decade, and now there have been two championships, a World Cup and a Euros, where we haven’t. That’s the reality, and the World Cup 2018 qualification will be very hard. Now we have to turn competition and show our full potential, the best of the Spanish player with talent, enthusiasm and ambition,” he added.
“Qualification for Russia 2018 won’t be easy. That’s the truth. For the quality of the opponents, which includes Italy, and because only the team in first qualifies directly. The runners-up go to a play-off. But we can’t change that.
“We’re aware of the difficulty of qualification but also our capacity, the potential of the team. The team has international quality and capacity and to this we have to add the thrill and excitement of representing our country.
“It’s clear that the years are passing and constant renewal is needed. Spain has had the best generation of its history, but there isn’t Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez any longer. You can’t live in the past. Now several generations are merging and what I want to do is mix the best of each one without looking at their ID, only their performance.
“What Gerard Pique said after Paris is clear that something isn’t right, but analysis in the heat of the moment isn’t the best. In the Euros or the World Cup a small detail can take you to one place or another and there are a lot of examples. The most important thing is to believe in the ability of our players, to believe in them and lead the way. I respect the results but performance comes first.”