Spain manager Vicente del Bosque was far from happy with his side’s display despite the fact that they moved to within a point of sealing qualification for next year’s World Cup with a 2-1 win over Belarus. Second-half goals from Xavi and Alvaro Negredo put the hosts in command before a late consolation from Sergei Kornilenko halved the deficit for Belarus.
Spain’s build-up play was slow throughout and Del Bosque is looking for more, particularly in the wide areas, when they host Georgia in their final qualifier on Tuesday.
“The game followed the guide we expected beforehand. All of our opponents play like this,” he said. “We didn’t have penetration in our play, but the most important thing is that we won and we are close to the objective.
“We made the changes that we needed in the second-half to have more penetration on the wings. Once the first goal went in though, we began to conserve what we had which is very dangerous. I think we need to go looking for more goals.”
The former Real Madrid boss had sprung two major surprises in his starting line-up by handing Michu his debut ahead of Negredo up front and replacing World Cup and UEFA European Championship winning captain Iker Casillas with Victor Valdes in goal.
Michu hadn’t even been in Del Bosque’s original squad and had been called in as a late replacement for the injured David Villa. However, the 62-year-old insisted the Swansea City forward had earned his place with his effort in training despite having a tough evening before being replaced by Negredo on 55 minutes.
“I was happy to bring in Michu and watch him train. He has a great spirit and arrives well into the box. It was a difficult game for him, but we have confidence in his value to the team. Negredo then came on and scored, which is what we expected. We manage the squad without favouritism and it was a good day for Michu to play.”
Casillas, meanwhile, finally paid for his lack of match action at club level with his place in the national team. Del Bosque had kept faith with the 32-year-old for the qualifier against Finland last month, but he has played just 105 minutes of competitive action for Real Madrid this season after being usurped by Diego Lopez.
However, Del Bosque refused to confirm that Valdes will continue to start as long as Casillas is not number one at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“This match and the one against Finland are quite distinct situations. In Finland they both had the same rhythm of training and matches. Now Casillas has been out for a couple of weeks with the injury he got in Galatasaray and has played practically just one match in the whole month. We will see how the games go in the future and if we make a change on Tuesday.”