Lopetegui: Great teams win, not players

Spain boss Julen Lopetegui was delighted with individual performances against Italy but warns “only great teams win things, not players.”

Spain cantered to a 3-0 victory over Italy on Saturday, virtually securing top spot in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group, with much of the onus falling on goalscorer Isco, playmaker Andres Iniesta and Marco Asensio, who starred as a false 9.

“I want to send a message and a hug to [suspended RFEF President, Angel] Villar because I know he’s having a bad time at the moment,” the Coach said after the game.

“The result? We played with great confidence and tremendous spirit, and we showed that we could solve complications like the ones we faced.

“I’m happy and satisfied because they were very complicated opponents, but there’s no such thing as perfection in football. We’re not in the World Cup yet, but we deserved the three points.

“From my first day here, I’ve been happy with the answers [the players have] given. Their focus and commitment are total. Only great teams win things, not players.

“Isco? He was magnificent and unlocked the match for us, but he always wanted the ball and worked well without it.

“Playing regularly and with consistency makes you grow in footballing terms. He’s a great player and he’s grown a lot in a year.

“Changes? Decisions are made in advance and they weren’t easy to make, but playing in one way or another doesn’t change much. What matters is the quality and performance.

“Asensio? All this talk about Asensio doesn’t help, but his attitude is fantastic and I’m happy with what he did.

“Iniesta? He’s extraordinary. He makes difficult things look easy. I don’t look at his statistics. He’s at a fantastic age to do great things.

“Opponents? We were expecting Italy to play how they did. Bernabeu? The fans’ attitude was wonderful. They helped us.

“We call on moments like these when we play away from home, and tonight was one of them.”

Tags 2018 World Cup Azzurri Italy Julen Lopetegui Spain