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Luis Enrique: "When you are convinced that you have a very good team, you don't mind being first in the group"

MADRID, 30 Nov.

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Luis Enrique: "When you are convinced that you have a very good team, you don't mind being first in the group"


The national soccer coach, Luis Enrique Martínez, stated this Wednesday that they are not going to "speculate" in any way in their duel against Japan given the possibility of being second in their group in the World Cup in Qatar because it is "convinced" that it has a "very good team" that "has shown faith and is capable of making things difficult for anyone"

The Spaniard acknowledged in the press conference prior to the game that "also" they had "made" that question about whether it is better to be second to avoid Brazil or France. "Imagine that we are interested in going second and in the two games the same result is given at minute 90 and at minute 95 Japan and Costa Rica score. You have speculated 95 minutes to be eliminated in 15 seconds," he warned.

"When you're convinced that your team is very good and you want to play all seven World Cup games, you don't mind being first. We can't do 'the milkmaid', we'll play it against whoever, this team has shown have faith and that he is capable of making things difficult for anyone. We want to do our homework and go first, which would mean that we have been the best. To win the World Cup you have to win all those who touch you", he remarked.

In this sense, he made it clear that "there is still a training session to decide the alignment" and that he does not intend to "speculate with any player", despite the fact that Sergio Busquets is warned of missing the round of 16. "There is nothing to protect, we only think about trying to win a group that has been described as 'death' and in which any of the four can qualify," he said.

In any case, regarding other players like Gavi and Rodri, who are taking blows from the duel against Germany, he acknowledged that they are things that "influence" to decide the eleven, but that, "in principle", both are "available". "They are two players with a large load of minutes with their clubs and who have been starters in games, there is no need to force either," he clarified.

Regarding the forward, he recalled that he has "eight very versatile forwards" and with whom he is "very happy with their attitude", including that of an Ansu Fati who has not even warmed up yet. "I am delighted with what I am seeing, but I have eight forwards who fly and there is a lot of competition," he stressed, lamenting that there is "no space" for everyone and that someone is going to stay "without playing for a minute" in the tournament.

In addition, the man from Gijón is "fully convinced that those who appear in the second parts are decisive." "There are other teams that get disoriented as the minutes go by and we always play the same and that is why it is essential to take advantage of the wear and tear of those who have left in the first 60 minutes and the freshness of those who enter, that is one of our strengths ", the selector pointed out.

Luis Enrique also admitted that in his team "pressure is a privilege", a message that prevails in the dressing room and taken from the last US Open. "That means that we are the ones chosen to represent a country and if you take it that way it is something nice and very positive, even if it also has some negative connotation. The message reflects very much what this team is looking for," he said. For this reason, he insisted to his footballers from "the first day of the concentration" that it was "to enjoy because that way one ends up doing their job better."

In addition, the Asturian also reiterated that he interprets football as "a 'show'". "When I was at another level of teams we have always tried to attack with the resources we had. I understand that other coaches interpret it differently, but we set the path for ourselves and that we have to spend it transmitting good vibes and optimism, even excessive because that generates good atmosphere and confidence in my players. We have to keep thinking that we are the best", he highlighted.

The coach of the national team was "in general very satisfied" with what they are doing "in attack and defense" and how their team "interprets the game". "We face the third game with the guarantee of being in a very good moment and with some training sessions that are being spectacular," he said.

Luis Enrique also spoke about Japan, "a very well-worked team with a very high individual level, very dynamic, and with very fast players who don't leave much time to think and execute."

"I like their midfield with Tanaka, Endo and Kamada. I think it will be a very difficult game and a very good test for us. I think we are going to dominate, but we are up against a team capable of withdrawing well and also pressing high. It will be a very open match in which we are going to have to control the start phase and the finish phase", he added.

Finally, he was asked about Brazil and about some of his favorites in this World Cup. "Brazil is a world power and a clear favorite in any World Cup, it has a lot of quality, a great individual and collective level, and they know what they are playing for," he explained of the 'canarinha'. "I don't think there are too many surprises, I always stick to the ranking, which is the one that marks those who are destined to be favorites and I haven't seen anyone skip that list," he said.