Morata not the only one responsible for goals: Enrique

Spain coach leaps to striker’s defence after poor show in opening game, vows to retain him against Poland

AFP June 19, 2021


Spain coach Luis Enrique raised a passionate defence of Alvaro Morata on Friday and has said the striker will start against Poland at Euro 2020, despite being jeered by his own fans in the opening draw against Sweden.

Morata is under pressure after missing a golden chance against the Swedes, whose 1-0 victory over Slovakia on Friday means all four teams in Group E are still in the mix to reach the last 16.

Luis Enrique's decision to start Morata ahead of Gerard Moreno has been criticised too, with the Villarreal striker, who scored 23 goals in La Liga last season, left on the bench until the latter stages.

But Morata was the player chosen for media duties on Friday, which he said was "everyone's decision", and he and Luis Enrique put on a united front before the second game in Seville.

"This morning I said it will be Morata and 10 others because he does so many things well for the team in attack and defence," said Luis Enrique.

"After 40 caps, only David Villa has scored more goals than him for Spain and he is the top scorer in the history of the national team.

"At international level, there is only one that beats him, which is Harry Kane."

Luis Enrique continued: "It's not only the number nine who has to score, it's about the midfielders, the pivots, the wingers, everyone has to. We are an offensive team, I don't know why I have to hold one player responsible."

Morata revealed he continues to speak to the team's psychologist Joaquin Valdes. "With Joaquin I always talk about many things, I think he is a great psychologist," Morata said.

Morata was asked what the most important thing is he has done this week. "Look at the documents of a house I am trying to buy," he replied with a smile.

Spain's captain Sergio Busquets will travel with the team to Seville after being cleared to rejoin the group on Friday following his positive test for Covid-19.

Busquets self-isolated at home for 12 days and is not expected to start, although Luis Enrique said his individual training statistics suggest he is in good physical condition.

"He is a very important reinforcement to all of us," Luis Enrique said. "I will talk with my staff about whether he can be in the 23 tomorrow."

Poland's greatest threat is Robert Lewandowski, the Bayern Munich striker who scored 53 goals last season.

"I like football, so I like Lewandwoski," Morata said. "He is one of the best strikers in the history of football.

"When I was lucky enough to play against him I asked for his shirt. He is a person I admire, a phenomenon. hopefully tomorrow he will have an off day."


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