Luis Enrique ‘convinced’ Spain will overcome Morocco challenge

Doha, Dec 5 (EFE).- Spain’s coach Luis Enrique on Monday bullishly defended his team’s style of play ahead of their first knockout round match against Morocco, which he is “convinced” his side will win.

Spain lost 2-1 to Japan to sneak into the Round of 16 after coming second in their group on goal difference over Germany, with many in the Spanish media criticizing the team’s performance in defeat to the Samurai Blue.

“That is another common tendency, to look at everything negatively. It’s either very positive or very negative,” a typically forthright Luis Enrique told reporters at a press conference.

When asked what outcome he would be satisfied with at the tournament he said: “I don’t know what I will be pleased with, because you know what? The thing that worries me the least is the result. Even though that might sound like a fantasy, to me, (the result) doesn’t bother me at all.”

Much of the criticism surrounding Spain’s defeat focused on how the team allowed Japan to seize control of the match during a chaotic five-minute second half spell when the coach described his team as having “panicked.”

But he insisted that despite that disappointment, his or the squad’s approach and philosophy would not change.

“What I focus on is controlling what I have to control as a coach, and that my team plays a certain way, and to motivate the players,” the Spain coach said.

“The result will come one or another. It’s not that football is a fair sport, but when you do better than your opponent, normally you win football matches,” he added.

“I am convinced that we will play better than Morocco, and that we will be able to achieve the result we want.”

If Luis Enrique’s side does defeat Morocco, Spain will likely again rely on 20-year-old Pedri, whose midfield performances so far at the World Cup have impressed.

“We know that Morocco has a lot of quality players, many of them playing in elite leagues. It’s going to be a tough match,” Pedri said, who acknowledged that Spain will not be able to afford to let their guard down against the lower-ranked North Africans.

“We have arrived in a phase of the tournament where if we have 10 minutes of disconnection, we go home. We know that we have to improve that (…) and that if we don’t, we will be out,” he said. EFE


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