Football

Misfiring Morata gets support from Enrique and Laporte

Striker will silence critics by scoring next time, adds Laporte after 0-0 draw

Spain coach Luis Enrique and centre-back Aymeric Laporte defended striker Alvaro Morata after he drew a blank in their 0-0 Euro 2020 Group E opener against Sweden in Seville yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Morata missed two gilt-edged chances as Spain took 17 shots in a game they thoroughly dominated, breaking records in the process.

Their 85 per cent of possession and 917 passes represent the highest figures for a team in a European Championship fixture since Opta started recording the data in 1980.

Morata, who scored 20 goals for Juventus this season, was also whistled by a section of the Spain crowd, who chanted, "How bad you are!" after their warm-up friendly against Portugal.

"I also heard applause for Morata (not just boos), and I'll focus on that," said Enrique, who replaced him with Pablo Sarabia in the 66th minute against Sweden.

"Morata is a great player who does a lot of things very well.

"No luck today, but that's football and that's life. It is easier to play with the public in your favour, and I hope that will change."

Laporte, who recently switched his international allegiance from France, was more forceful, saying: "You can't doubt an attacker like Alvaro, who has already shown a lot.

"Next time he scores three and shuts everyone up."

 

 

However, Cesc Fabregas, who struck an optimistic tone about Spain's chances before the Euros, said there was "a big question mark" about the team's ability to find the net.

The World Cup and European Championship winner said on the BBC: "I know there has been examples where France won the World Cup with (Olivier) Giroud, but you need to take your chances.

"We had enough chances to win the game.

"But the big question mark is how we end up defending and how we end up attacking. Today we were just not at it."

Sweden coach Janne Andersson defended his side's approach, saying: "We created some chances and they created some, so all in all, I'm not at all ashamed over this point.

"If we're to take points or win against this kind of a team, we have to play like this...

"To come to Spain, in 32 degrees and against all their skill, to think we'd outplay them would have been naive."

Football