Spain boss Luis Enrique admitted he felt ‘wonderful’ when half-time came against England but praised his side for almost overturning a 3-0 deficit.
Spain fell 3-0 down to England inside just 38 minutes, courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s brace – his first international goals for three years – and a Marcus Rashford finish.
However, La Roja pulled the result back to 3-2 through the free-scoring Paco Alcacer and Sergio Ramos at the death, while they should’ve been awarded a penalty when Jordan Pickford manhandled Rodrigo Moreno in front of an open goal.
Nonetheless, the Spaniards suffered their first home defeat in 15 years and England ended a run of games without a victory over Luis Enrique’s men, which dated back to 1987.
“I’m not here to judge the referees, they have a very difficult job and you have to accept it,” the Coach said after the match.
“The first half was very bad and we have to admit that. The first goal killed us. We made quite a few individual errors.
“They showed the threat they posed on the break for 0-2. A group with two World Cup semi-finalists is not easy.
“We still rely on ourselves, but we have to go to Croatia to win. I felt my team, with their attitude, didn’t need a rocket, any criticism or widespread changes.
“I needed to strengthen them, make some tactical tweaks and put them in a positive dynamic. The credit [for almost coming back] belongs to the players.
“I couldn’t correct anything at half-time. The players are the protagonists. Every Coach has their own methods.
“It’s wrong for me to say it, but I felt wonderful at half-time. The normal thing would’ve been to kill my players, but I strengthened them and didn’t bring anyone off.
“I told them that even the great teams suffer. We pegged our opponents back and it’s disappointing that we didn’t score before 2-3 because 3-3 would’ve done the Villamarin justice.
“Now I have a great deal of time to think. There are several players that I liked in this squad. From here, I must prepare the artillery.”
Spain remain top of League A Group 4 in the Nations League and only need to better England’s result against Croatia when they face the World Cup runners-up themselves to win the pool.
Spain 2-3 England
Alcacer 58, Ramos 90 (S) Sterling 16, 38, Rashford 29 (E)
Spain:De Gea; Jonny, Nacho, Ramos, Marcos Alonso; Thiago, Busquets, Saul (Alcacer 57); Aspas (Ceballos 57), Rodrigo (Morata 72), Asensio
England:Pickford; Trippier (Alexander-Arnold 85), Joe Gomez, Maguire, Chilwell; Winks (Chalobah 90), Dier, Barkley (Walker 76); Sterling, Kane, Rashford