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Del Bosque takes on Spain's detractors

Published: Tuesday 19 June 2012, 16.30CET
Vicente del Bosque said "the fact Croatia had one good chance doesn't mean that they were on top" as he looked to dispel a "climate of pessimism" in the Spanish media.
by Graham Hunter
from Gniewino
Del Bosque takes on Spain's detractors
Vicente del Bosque has been irked by coverage of his team in Spain ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 19 June 2012, 16.30CET

Del Bosque takes on Spain's detractors

Vicente del Bosque said "the fact Croatia had one good chance doesn't mean that they were on top" as he looked to dispel a "climate of pessimism" in the Spanish media.

Vicente del Bosque was in combative mood as he sieved over the reaction to his team's 1-0 victory against Croatia, and the quarter-final in Donetsk which lies ahead.

Even if he was not irritable or ill-tempered, the mood which the Spain coach showed in front of the assembled media at the Mistral training complex in Gniewino spoke of his frustration. There is, he feels, a climate of doubt and anxiety despite a firm qualification from Group C, and a 6-1 goal aggregate in the holders' favour.

Del Bosque's view of the Croatia match was so different from that of Spain's national media that when he got back to the team hotel at 02.00CET he forsook the celebratory dinner and went to rewatch the game, which was won with Jesús Navas' late breakaway goal. There was just a hint that he wanted to check he had not missed something.

"Last night, I decided to review the whole game and now I've got quite a different view than most of the judges who say we were so bad," he said. "I just don't think that. OK, Croatia threatened us from time to time, but in general terms, we did things well. I didn't think that we stretched the game enough, so that meant there was always a threat of them creating a chance and converting it.

"I accept the fact that people aren't necessarily in favour of what I do," he added. "There is a lot of concern about 'did we make it too hard for ourselves?', 'did [Ivan] Rakitić nearly score?', but the things we did well were important. Perhaps Rakitić and [Darijo] Srna had chances but that was it, pretty much. The rest of the evening we dominated. The fact that Croatia had one good chance doesn't mean that they were on top – come on!"

Del Bosque admitted that debates over whether Spain should use a traditional central striker, or whether the double pivot partnership in midfield is too negative, and discussions over whether his side's passage to the quarter-finals has been too precarious leave him feeling that there is a "climate of pessimism".

However, what inspires him is the fact that he can count on the back-up players in his squad to shine, like Navas did. "He's a one-off," said Del Bosque. "He adds something close to unique to our group – perhaps only matched by Pedro Rodríguez. He's full of ambition and adventure, and what he can give us on the pitch is important."

The same goes for the work of Spain's player of the tournament thus far, Andrés Iniesta. The midfielder also took time out on his day off to briefly address the media throng, pointing out: "Everything is really tight in this tournament. Every team is going to have difficult moments. We had ours yesterday but we don't believe that there needs to be any doubt in us, even if we struggled a little. We could have won 2-0 or 3-0 but it didn't go that way.

"All criticism has its place if it's constructive and not just people letting off steam in the heat of the moment," he added. "I'd ask some fans to stay calm. Everyone thinks they knows better than the coach, but I think we've done pretty well so far."

Last updated: 20/06/12 3.00CET

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