Lopetegui explains new Spain faces

Spain boss Julen Lopetegui says Luis Alberto and Alberto Moreno have been on his radar for a while after their surprise call-ups.

Luis Alberto has been rewarded for his impressive form with Serie A high-fliers Lazio, while Moreno has finally established himself as Liverpool’s first-choice left-back this season, although their inclusions have come at a cost for the likes of Marcos Alonso and Dani Parejo.

“Fans? It motivates us a lot, that [the Costa Rica game] is another sell-out,” Lopetegui said at a Press conference for La Roja’s pre-World Cup friendlies against Costa Rica and tournament hosts Russia over the next fortnight.

“The fans are with us, that’s the best way to prepare for a World Cup, and if it’s in an ideal environment, in a footballing city like Málaga, then it’s much better.

“Iniesta? He's fit again for his team and that's why he’s in our squad. Villa? He was with us but got injured, and now we’re looking at other options.

“There are always players that are playing well, Dani Parejo is one of them and, like a few others, we’re keeping a close eye on how they perform.

“Luis Alberto? He’s been playing for Lazio at a very high level for a while. He’s been close to a call-up several times before, and now we want to see him up close because he understands the football that we like to play.

“Objectives? Running before you can walk is complicated. We’re hopeful, but the best way to prepare for a big objective is to focus on the short term.

“Costa Rica and Russia are strong sets of opponents, who we could face in the finals, but we won’t think about long-term objectives just yet.

“Diego Costa? We like him a lot, but he’s only training and not competing yet. Still, we’ll be waiting for him as of January.

“Cazorla’s foot? These are the other stories in football, which aren’t so much about the goals or spotlights.

“It involves someone who has given so much, but it’ll have a happy ending and I’m sure Santi will play again.

“Alberto Moreno? He’s a starter for Liverpool, he’s always playing and I know him very well from youth categories. Now I want to see him up close.

“Analysis? We don’t judge only on what we see in the Champions League. We see each player in their surroundings, domestic League and everything they play for.

“Squad? The objective is not only to win these two games but also see if there are players that can mix it with us.

“There’s a unit here, and it’s important that we strengthen ourselves in these breaks.”

Tags 2018 World Cup Alberto Moreno Costa Rica Julen Lopetegui Lazio Liverpool Luis Alberto Russia Spain
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