INTERNATIONAL | SPAIN | VICENTE DEL BOSQUE
Del Bosque: "I don’t have to lean on the past to carry on"
Spain manager still says France 2016 will be his last hurrah, and Isco, Nolito and José Callejón are in his plans.
Vicente del Bosque gave an in-depth interview to website diariodelaroja.com on Friday, in which he discussed the national team, where he stressed there is transition, not revolution, and Diego Costa, who the Spain manager said there is no different treatment toward than any other player: "If he's not fit, he's not expected to turn up."
Furthermore, Del Bosque reiterated that while he doesn't feel his job is under threat, he is still certain that France 2016 will be his last tournament in charge of Spain and the veteran former Real Madrid coach also described Álvaro Morata as the future of the front line. He also spoke about Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Koke and the state of play of Nolito, José Callejón and Isco.
World Cup: "We only had the chance to play three games at the World Cup and I think we played well for one and half, and badly for one and a half. Was that our fault? Absolutely, and also because of the virtues of the opposition. We were going well when 1-0 up against Holland and then the equalizing goal was like a millstone. In the second half we didn't play well, we were very flat and that's where things really started to go wrong. In the second game we were inferior to Chile. And in the last game, considering we had no chance of going through, the behaviour of the players was excellent."
Transition, not revolution: "I don't think tearing up the script is necessary. What for? Because of their age? You can't consider a player under 30 old. And that is what we have in the squad. Except for Iker Casillas, who is oldest and a goalkeeper, I don't think Iniesta is 30 yet. The rest of them are all under 30."
Koke: "Koke had a big role last year and this year it's the same. He is player that gives everything physically, is very intelligent in possession and always thinks about the team. He is an important player. It's not easy to switch between his role at Atlético and the one he has with us. There he plays on the wing and here he plays more in the middle. There is no doubt he will be a very useful player for us."
Change of style: "We started with one striker, then we had two, then we moved one of them, Villa, to the left wing, we ended up playing without strikers and now we have two again... the important thing is the concept, the way the system is carried out. We have our own style of play based on the players we have and I don't think we'll give up on it. But there will also be alternatives. It's not just about how I want the team to play, we also have an obligation based on the players we bring in."
Diego Costa: "Costa's case is a very special one. At the beginning there were people who didn't want him to play because he is a foreigner, he wasn't born here. But people now have accepted him. Then, his performances, for one reason or another, were not what was hoped for, because he either came to us with injuries or in a busy period of the season. We didn't see the Costa that we have all seen. When he moved to England, he showed that he is an important player, valued and respected. He wants to play for Spain, and to be useful. I have every confidence that it will all work out."
"Soft transition" in goal: "These are the transitions I'm talking about; they don't have to be traumatic. I said it in a good-natured way and without malice, but others have chosen to interpret it that way. Casillas isn't getting any younger. We have to also be prepared for if he gets an injury or stops playing for his club... We have to another, or more than one, ready. We have more than five goalkeepers. At the moment we are working with David [de Gea] because he has been with us before and also with Kiko Casilla, who is a good kid and another good keeper.
Valdés: "I haven't promised him anything but I have a lot of affection for him because he has been great for us."
Question marks: "The older the get, the worse... But what we want is to things well. I try to guide the team to where it should be. I don't have to lean on the past to carry on. If I detect a [downward] trend, and I have yet, but I may be wrong, I would go. I think the 2016 European Championship will be the end of the journey."
José Callejón: "He's playing well. We watched him in Bilbao with Napoli and although they played poorly that day, we know he is having a great season in Italy. Why shouldn't he get a call-up? But, of course, we're not guaranteeing he will."
Nolito: "The same. He's another kid who's playing well. He had a good season under Luis Enrique at Celta and he is one of their key players. What we have to do is see if he can be for the national team as well."
Álvaro Morata: "I believe he is the future of the forward line. Along with Rodrigo, Munir... these are the players who will form the front line of the future."
Llorente: "We're not obsessed with anyone. If we see he is the ideal player to come and play, he will come and play. That's it."
Piqué y Busquets: "Piqué played well for us [during the last international break]. The other day [in the Clasico] I was with Toni [Grande, assistant coach] and before the handball, we said to each other 'Gerard's playing well." After that he played at the team's rhythm. The criticism of him has been over the top. There have been a flurry of attacks against him recently and I think there is something more than sport behind it. As for Busquets, maybe he isn't in his best moment of form, but he is always effective for us."
Isco: "What we want is for him to be playing in all the games he can. We have confidence in him and for that reason he has been called up by us before. If he wasn't called up last time it was because we wanted him to play for the under-21s. We weren't sure we would be able to give him a lot of time on the pitch and it was better that he play for the under-21s, because he was an important player for that game."