Madrid, July 19 (IANS) New Spanish national football team coach Luis Enrique said on Thursday that it was possible to evolve the current style of play.
The 48-year-old replaced Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked on the eve of the World Cup and temporarily replaced by Fernando Hierro for the duration of the tournament, reports Xinhua news agency.
In three seasons as coach at FC Barcelona, Luis Enrique adapted the club’s tactics to accommodate a slightly more direct style, and when asked about whether he would do something similar with Spain, the Gijon native said it was possible.
“We can evolve the style. I saw that when I was working at a great club and with incredible players,” said Luis Enrique, who nevertheless isn’t considering a total revolution.
“You have to give the players help. We will still be protagonists with the ball, but we will strengthen the profile with consideration, and, for example, press more when we lose the ball.”
“We need to concede fewer goals and we need to create more chances,” added the coach.
Spain had over 75 per cent of possession in their final game at the World Cup, when they lost on penalties against Russia, but failed to turn possession into goalscoring opportunities.
The fact that central defender Sergio Ramos ended the World Cup with more passes completed than any other player in the tournament, despite only playing four games, says much about the sterility of Spanish possession, and has opened a debate over whether Spain’s playing style should change, especially in the wake of the success enjoyed in Russia by more direct sides, such as England, Belgium and tournament winners France.
Enrique’s first game as in charge will be against England in September.