Julen Lopetegui is ‘not concerned’ by Gerard Pique’s place in the Spain national squad and believes fans will support him and the team.
The Barcelona defender has been targeted by Spanish fans for his views on a Catalan independence referendum and has admitted he would retire from international duty in advance of next summer’s World Cup if he was ‘a problem’.
“I’m not concerned by this situation, I’m confident fans will back him without thinking of other issues,” Lopetegui is quoted as saying by Marca.
“The World Cup will as always be a festival of football and that goes for every team and player involved, we all must learn to cope with the pressure that comes with it.
“Costa Rica? They have played together for many years and have a strong identity; they will be a good challenge for us.
“It will be the first of four games for us and each will be important for us in analysing players and tactics, as they will be important for every Coach.
“We will include some new faces in our team but as always in football, it is ever changing and no list will be definitive.”