Saul: Lopetegui deserved to stay

Saul Niguez admits sacked Spain boss Julen Lopetegui ‘deserved to continue’ his reign into the World Cup.

Lopetegui was dismissed on the eve of the World Cup after he failed to notify the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) of his negotiations to become Real Madrid’s next Coach in good time, but Saul feels the 51-year-old should have been allowed to stay on.

“It was surprising,” the Atletico Madrid midfielder told TVE.

“I think that even though there will have been reasons and motives, while us players weren’t drawn into it as it wasn’t the right time, Julen deserved to continue after having spent two years preparing for the World Cup with us.

“I didn’t like what happened with Lopetegui. It’s a decision to be respected, but we had a great project with him.

“It was Rubiales’ decision to sack him and you have to understand it, although a lot of why we’re here is thanks to Julen.

“Starting place? It’s a compliment that people think I should come into the XI but the team need all 23 players. I have to wait for my chance and take it.

“Griezmann staying at Atleti? We’re happy that he’s staying. It was long-awaited news for Atletico, plus it’s a joy for everyone on a personal level.”

Tags 2018 World Cup Antoine Griezmann Julen Lopetegui Saul Niguez Spain