Football

New Spain boss wants evolution, not revolution

New coach Julen Lopetegui wants Spain to go through an "evolution" not a "revolution" as he tries to bring back the good times to the former world champions.

The 49-year-old signed a two-year deal on Thursday and will lead the team as they attempt to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

"This appointment fills me with pride and is a huge responsibility I happily take," said Lopetegui.

"We are not going to throw away the many wonderful things this national team have given us.

"We are very proud of the past, but we are looking at the present and the future.

"We are not going to do a revolution but an evolution based on our ideas.

"There are players in the squad that are in their prime, many of them... We are going to bring back the enthusiasm to the people."

Lopetegui praised predecessor Vicente del Bosque, who coached Spain for eight years before stepping down after Euro 2016.

Spain were knocked out in the first round of the World Cup in Brazil two years ago and lost to Italy in the last 16 of the Euros.

Del Bosque led the team to their first World Cup title triumph in 2010 as well as the European Championship crown two years later.

"There is no better mirror to look at than that of Vicente del Bosque," Lopetegui said.

HIGH BAR

"He has done an exemplary job and has set the bar very high."

He added that he plans to call on most of the players used by del Bosque but will open the door to emerging talent.

Lopetegui guided Spain's team to title success in the 2012 European Under-19 Championship and the 2013 Under-21 equivalent.

Spain's new boss led Porto from May 2014 until January when he was dismissed following their Champions League exit.

The new Spain boss' fortunes have changed markedly in the last few days as he reneged on a deal to take over at Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, after their takeover by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, to take charge of his national team.

Said Lopetegui: "I had an agreement with an English team (Wolves) but, when Spain approached, there was nothing more for me." - Wire Services.

sportFootballJulen LopeteguiSpainmanagercoachEVOLUTIONREVOLUTION