‘I know a lot about football’ – Luis Enrique strides after a narrow Spanish victory

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Spain boss Luis Enrique was in a stinging mood as he defended his team’s performance following a 1-0 win over Switzerland in the Nations League on Thursday.

Pablo Sarabia almost scored after a swift counterattack 13 minutes into the game, but Marcos Llorente put the shot from the left flank just outside the goal.

That Sarabia’s goal came in that scenario spoke of the nature of Spain’s possession during the 90 minutes in which Switzerland fired just as many shots with 34 per cent of the ball compared to La Roja’s 66 per cent.

When asked about Diego Llorente’s second start in three matches, having played only three appearances since 2020 in this international window, Luis Enrique went at the forefront both in terms of selection and approach.

“I know a lot about football and he [Llorente] comes because he is among the best, ”said ‘Lucho’. “He’s been playing continuously. Both him and Pau [Torres]. They found [Sergio] Busquets many times, which is important.

“Marco Asensio has given us things. Morata has been spectacular, and with either our number nine, they have given us favorable scenarios.

“Yes, when they push us, they take us to one side of the pitch and we have no solutions. When you do very well, you can hit a ball up to the attacker and we change their pressure.

“There we are good too, but that is not our identity. Our identity is to play with the ball. In these games I insist. You have to have personality to play. ”

As in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, Switzerland were able to create specific problems in the transition, while remaining compact in defensive phases to largely deny Spain sustainable paths to goals.

It has been a recurring theme for Luis Enrique’s team in this start of the Nations League, where high possession volumes were not translated into dominance in shot volume and quality in draws against Portugal and the Czech Republic.

The 52-year-old Spanish boss pointed to Switzerland’s quality as a team and their record at home – where they had previously been unbeaten in a competitive match since 2014 – to confirm his own team’s performance.

“Switzerland is in the World Cup and will give us problems,” Enrique said. “For me, the mistake is not to have the ball at the opposite end of the court. We defend with the ball.

“The result conditions everything. This is how football works. This team had 23 matches without losing an official match at home. Winning away is very difficult. It has cost how could it be otherwise.

“The game depends on the result. I like the spirit of the players and their attitude. It is a positive match that gives us the opportunity to still trust ourselves.

“Switzerland have been unbeaten for eight years, 23 official matches without losing at home, and we had the opportunity to beat them.”

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