Spain coach sings subs' praises

Spain coach lauds those who 'seize their chances'

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui was happy with the way his players took their chances as a changed line-up comfortably beat Macedonia 4-0 in their Group G World Cup qualifier.

Missing three of their regular defenders Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba, as well as injured striker Diego Costa, the hosts still eased to victory once Darko Velkovski's own goal had broken the deadlock.

Vitolo doubled the advantage just past the hour mark, before Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal scored his first international goal and Aritz Aduriz became his country's oldest scorer at the age of 35 years and 275 days.

The Athletic Bilbao striker was 50 days older than the previous record holder Jose Maria Pena, who had set the mark in 1930 when scoring against Portugal.

"Things never go as planned but, at the end, we are happy with the three points and a good result," Lopetegui said.

"They were a good team with speed and so it was difficult to control the game. What is essential is to have the attitude of those who came in.

"They have talent, personality and ambition and they have the time to seize their chance and whenever one door closes another opens. The most important thing is the team."

Lopetegui then praised Vitolo, who bagged his third goal in four World Cup qualifiers with a 63rd-minute header.

"(Vitolo) is playing regularly as he responds to what we ask for," he said. "He is playing well for us.

"He always wants to learn more, has good technique, understands the game, and is physically good. He will keep improving and be an important player for us."

Spain, with an injury doubt over Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, now head to Wembley to face England on Wednesday morning (Singapore time).


"We will go with the idea of competing well and we will try to win the game," said Lopetegui, who revealed that he was close to joining English second-tier side Wolverhampton Wanderers before taking on the Spain job.

The former Spain goalkeeper said: "When the federation called, naturally my objective became the national team, but it's true that before that (Wolves and I) had been working hand in hand for some time... Their project was especially attractive."

Former Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga was eventually appointed, but his stint at the Molineux lasted just 87 days before Paul Lambert replaced him earlier this month.

- PA Sport.

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