Enrique under fire after disappointing Spain campaign
Questions aplenty for Enrique after disappointing Spain campaign as Luis Enrique promised evolution rather than revolution when he took charge of the national side.
Three wins in his first three games, including a dominant 2-1 win over England at Wembley and a 6-0 hammering of World Cup finalists Croatia, had fans believing La Roja were returning to their imperious best.
However, then the wires got crossed and afrer the initia success, Enrique’s new-look Spain got two wins and two defeats from four UEFA Nations League games. Moreover, Croatia left Spain without a spot in the new competition’s semi-finals.
“When we took over the national team we knew the score and we were building a group,” Enrique said. “I’d love to have qualified for the final four, but the objective is Euro 2020 and we are working on it.”
If Spain are to live up to their billing as one of the favourites for the European Championship in two years’ time, there is plenty to improve on.
So far, Enrique has fielded 33 players, so he perhaps does not know what his best starting XI is.
He was dealt the double blow of David Silva and Gerard Pique retiring before he took charge, and the latter has been significantly difficult to replace. Neither Real Madrid’s Nacho nor Inigo Martinez of Athletic Bilbao have proved convincing at the back at international level.
However, most fans cite goalkeeper David de Gea as the main problem, but Spain have also lacked a cutting edge going forward.
Alvaro Morata has not ever looked like he could be the man to lead the attack in the absence of the injury-plagued Diego Costa, with the Chelsea striker failing to find the net in his past four appearances.
A reliable backup needs to be sourced if Spain are to truly evolve.
REUTERS/Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli, editing by Christian Radnedge