He may have scored his first senior hat-trick in Spain's 4-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win against Belarus, yet Pedro Rodríguez was simply relieved to have avoided a slip up ahead of Tuesday's heavyweight encounter with France.
Vicente del Bosque's team were rarely threatened as they followed up their narrow success in Georgia last month with another away triumph. La Roja will go into the visit of Les Bleus full of confidence after Pedro's treble and a Jordi Alba strike consigned Belarus to their third defeat in Group I.
"It was a good game from our side and really important that we didn't slip up here with the France game on Tuesday in mind," said the FC Barcelona forward. "That was my first hat-trick and obviously I'm happy to have achieved it, but what makes me even happier is how the game panned out for us."
The 25-year-old – who also scored twice last month in a 5-0 friendly victory over Saudi Arabia – has been receiving high praise in Spain following several notable performances for club and country. Although his latest achievement is certain to raise his profile further, the Canary Islander insists he is just happy to be among a talented group of players.
"We all feel important in this set-up and each one of us knows we must take advantage of our opportunities," he said. "Sometimes it seems like the goals just come to you and tonight I was the one fortunate enough to experience that."
Del Bosque was full of praise for the attacker, whom he said was an integral part of a tactical plan that came off perfectly in Minsk. "Pedro is doing really well for his club," said the coach. "He is fresh, dynamic and playing with the necessary offensive aggressiveness that can help to sometimes break the mold of our tendency to play the ball to feet.
"He was very self-assured in an attacking sense tonight. We decided to take a punt on playing Cesc Fàbregas and Santi Cazorla, with Pedro at the head of that trio, and it gave us a lot of depth in our play."
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