“It’s been five minutes of panic”

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Luis Enrique says “there is nothing to celebrate” and asks his team for “more power when the rival pushes”

Shivers ran down the spine of the entire Spanish team. When Japan turned the score around and Spain were briefly knocked out, Luis Enrique experienced “five minutes of panic”. His team didn’t know how to deal with that “chaos”. “Japan has passed us in two actions. It was unpleasant”, he complained. It had to be Germany, in the other group match against Costa Rica, that saved Spain. “Today there is nothing to celebrate”, said the coach despite the fact that La Roja is classified second in the group “We have to show more strength when the rival puts pressure on us,” he lectured in Qatar.

“In five minutes of panic, they scored two goals for us and they could have scored two more if they needed them,” said Luis Enrique. Subsequently, his team could not open cracks “against a rival who knew how to close and press”. Japan, in his opinion, has taken first place in a “deserved” way after beating Germany and Spain. Now it’s Spain’s turn to cross against Morocco. “If we get ahead on the scoreboard, they will put pressure on us like Japan put pressure on us. We have to learn to deal with those situations,” he stressed.

After ending the first half with a 1-0 lead, the Asturian coach warned his players about the Japanese reaction. The Japanese had nothing left to lose. “We talked at half-time about how the second part wouldn’t be like the first. Japan would take risks. We are classified thanks to the first two games of this stage,” he stressed. He said he was not worried, but acknowledged that the defeat is “a slap in the face to realize that this is a World Cup”. And he warned : “In the qualifiers this can happen.”

In his first statements, Luis Enrique preferred to turn the page. “I like to focus on what we need to do. I would have liked to have gone first. Japan fired three times on target. You don’t have to attack much when you score the goals,” he said.

Time and again the questions came back about those minutes in which Spain was almost out at the World Cup. “If a team like Japan has nothing to lose, they just fly like planes. Then it went back to normal. The end was already very difficult, because they were very closed,” he said. Around those 12 minutes in which Spain were knocked out, Luis Enrique assured that he has seen “everything in football”. Of the seven games, including the final, it aspires to play in Qatar, Spain has already played three and has earned the right to be in fourth place with a heavy heart.

Morocco will be the rival in the eighth finals. The engineer who, like the stoic philosophers he reads so much, combines courage and temperance, wants more. He has days until Tuesday’s game to rebuild his players’ confidence. From the first appearance against Costa Rica, the fear against Japan is over. Spain is still alive. And Luis Enrique wants this latest defeat to harden his team.

Source: La Verdad

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