Football

Costa and Spain need to connect

Vicente del Bosque.

Diego Costa's goal drought for Spain continued yesterday morning (Singapore time) in the 1-0 loss to France in an international friendly.

The latest in a series of poor results extended from a woeful World Cup in which the defending champions were knocked out in the first round only served to highlight the poor return from their strikeforce.

Coach Vicente del Bosque, while seeing "some positives" from the narrow defeat, appears to be ready to build his team around Costa.

But first, he has to find the right formula to get the best out of the Brazil-born striker whose goals for Atletico Madrid last season earned him a big-money move to Chelsea, where he has continued his prolific form at club level.

However, after five appearances he has yet to open his Spain account and there is a sense the European champions' playing style, which relies on grinding down opponents with long periods of possession, may not be suited to his more direct approach.

Del Bosque said the team needed to work harder to create chances for Costa and suggested he is prepared to give the 25-year-old plenty of time to settle.

"Diego Costa has shown what he is capable of, now we have to connect with him, understand him," del Bosque told Spanish television. "He put in a lot of effort and he is certain to give us positive results."

Costa, on his part, said it was up to him to adapt and was confident of breaking his duck, perhaps in Spain's opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia on Tuesday morning.

"I sincerely believe that with work the results will come and that's what I am focusing on," Costa said. "Things are going very well for me at Chelsea and that encourages me to continue improving."

Del Bosque, who will field what is on paper a much stronger side for the Macedonia game, saw "some positives" in the defeat.

"We found it tough to create scoring chances but in general terms it was a good match. We will go forward little by little," he said.

"We showed we are a good team and the newcomers proved they have what it takes to be with us.

"We are working on regenerating the team but generally we have kept an important core group." 
- Wire Services.