Spain coach Luis de la Fuente has declared that he is able to select the best two central midfielders in the world during international breaks, while admitting he is not a fan of complicating things too much in terms of tactics.
De la Fuente came under early pressure during his Spain reign, following defeat to Scotland in his second game, and then again after applauding disgraced former RFEF President Luis Rubiales for refusing to resign. Today de la Fuente was called into court as a witness, with Rubiales set to face trial for sexual assault and coerion.
However he has told Diario AS that he feels his side have improved dramatically since he arrived, while also declaring that he deserved his promotion to the senior side after 12 years of good work in the youth ranks.
“I think we are strong because of the versatility of the team. We have shown that we are strong defensively, with great pressing after losing the ball. But offensively we have scored goals of all types. Spain will cause doubt among rivals because they will know that we can hurt them in many different ways.”
De la Fuente also admitted that he is not a fan of ‘tacticos’ delving into too much detail with footballers.
“We always have to improve, we have to do so in the defensive phase and also in attack. I am not excessively rigorous in a tactical sense.”
He was also asked whether he was, as he has been characterised, proudly Spanish, catholic and a fan of bullfighting.
“I am more than proud, very proud to be everything they say. And since I am free, I choose what I like, with all due respect for others. I know what I stand for and I know I can’t have a weak moment. And when I have had it, which has happened to me, I have had the humility to ask for forgiveness and I would like people to also have the generosity to forgive.”
In terms of his FIFA Best votes, de la Fuente revealed that he had put Haaland ahead of Messi, but that either way, he had the best two midfielders in the world.
“Rodri, Haaland and Messi…, and by the way last year I voted for Julian Alvarez, which caused some consternation… But also for Bellingham and in third place for Modric. But no one knew Jude Bellingham, then, except in Madrid, of course. He has had a sensational explosion. He is a different player. But hey, Rodrigo has been my first choice this time because we have the two best centre-midfielders in the world: Rodri and Zubimendi.”