Luis Enrique’s injections of morale

With just twenty minutes of drinking time in two games, Spain certified its classification for the final four of the League of Nations. After the match with Portugal, Luis Enrique lit up a jubilant celebration in midfield for the goal achieved. Nailed there, unleashed by the euphoria of the result, the Spanish coach demanded the presence of all his players for a group photograph with him included. However, nobody like Luis Enrique is aware of the lack of football that the team has shown, first against Switzerland and then, for a long hour, in the demanding duel with Portugal. His gestures of disagreement on the sideline in both matches betrayed the absence of that dominant and sharp-edged Spain that he claims. In Zaragoza and Braga, the signs of identity of the attractive and daring script that he has imposed in these four years at the head of the Red emerged with worrying scarcity.

Diogo Costa, Rúben Dias, Cancelo, Danilo Pereira, Nuno Mendes, Diogo Jota (Vitor Ferreira, min. 78), Ruben Neves (João Félix, min. 88), Bernardo Silva (João Mário, min. 72), Bruno Fernandes, William Carvalho (Rafael Leao, min. 77) and Cristiano
ESP Spain
Unai Simón, Dani Carvajal, Gayá, Pau Torres, Hugo Guillamón (Busquets, min. 45), Carlos Soler (Pedri, min. 59), Rodrigo, Koke (Gavi, min. 59), Ferrán Torres (Nico Williams, min. 72), Sarabia (Yeremy Pino, min. 60) and Morata
goals 0-1 min. 87: Morata.
Yellow cards Hugo Guillamón (min. 30), Bernardo Silva (min. 45), Dani Carvajal (min. 54), Nuno Mendes (min. 82) and João Félix (min. 95)

Faced with this lack of brilliance, with less than two months to go before the World Cup and the downturn in the game shown, Luis Enrique has emerged as the head of the clan and agglutinator of responsibilities as a protective shield for his soccer players. “The joy of the end is wonderful, also when no one expects you to be able to turn it around, this has been a constant in my career because we have never had it easy, but we have always given it a twist, the result is the least important”, he proclaimed the coach before directing his speech towards the reinforcement of the group. “The important thing is to see the attitude of the whole team. How the players and the staff”, he stressed before exclaiming: “If you want to see the state of a team, look at its bench, its assistants, the security people, the people around the team! It’s wonderful, I’m very happy.”

Seen what was seen with the ball in 180 minutes, the Asturian coach has been confirmed with the handling of communication as the great protective leader of the group. The injections of morale from him to the Spanish internationals have been numerous after the defeat in Zaragoza. It is not the first time that he has tried to cleanse the heads of his players of negativity after sending a message that later becomes counterproductive due to the repercussion they have. In the heat, in La Romareda, he offered one of the crudest analyzes that are remembered to explain the flat Spain of the first half against the Swiss. He admitted the worst first act of his stage and never having seen so many players miss easy passes. In the previous one with Portugal, Luis Enrique assured, after reviewing the game, that those first 45 minutes against the Swiss team had not been so bad. He explained his change of mind on the difficulty of observing football in detail from the bench and the technical area. In that area, as from almost all areas of the field, including the upper stands, following the game live generates sensations more than brainy analysis in slow motion and Luis Enrique’s were not different from that of anyone who watched the match. Spain played very badly that first part and a long section of the second.

This first blow to the players continued in the press room of the Municipal de Braga stadium when he explained the entry of Busquets, Gavi and Nico Williams, who were decisive for the victory. “Despite the fact that now we can all highlight that the players who came off the bench have been decisive, and they are, but in order for them to get the rival to be tired we need everyone’s work and all those who have participated have been at a very high level,” he argued. Luis Enrique was very clear that he had to reinforce the changed ones. “It is not about comparing one who has come out of soda [con los que sustituidos], this is a group, a team and there is a general strategy and that is what we try to do”, he stressed before stretching his protective blanket towards the starting wingers. Sarabia and Ferran ran a lot, but they have barely unbalanced in the two games. The two were reinforced by the coach with their second start and then, remarking that they had worn down the Portuguese full-backs: “The wingers, the four, Sarabia, Ferran, Nico and Yeremi have done their job, facing up, even if they lose it” .

Luis Enrique also admitted that the lack of depth in the first half, the same as against Switzerland, this time had been his fault for having conditioned the players with a video so that they did not play long in certain situations. In his opinion, this made the players interpret part of his plan with excess zeal, that of defending with the ball without risking it. His soccer players failed in the attempt to generate a damaging offensive game due to those last instructions.

In that role of defending patriarch of the squad, Luis Enrique hinted at his satisfaction at qualifying for the final four of the League of Nations above the game displayed. The result, this time, has been the highest dose of morale that has been inoculated in the group. “It was a final, away from home… The victory gives us peace of mind in the environment… These players have shown that it is not easy to play against Spain and it will not be in the World Cup, to beat us the rivals are going to have to do things well” .

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