Spain coach Luis Enrique has defended his rotation policy following their slow start to 2022 World Cup qualifying.
La Roja needed a 92nd-minute Dani Olmo strike to edge Georgia 2-1 following their opening 1-1 home draw with Greece, with Luis Enrique rotating his starting XI for both matches.
The situation led to criticism of Luis Enrique, who pointed out only months ago Spain defeated Germany 6-0 in the Nations League.
Spain take on Kosovo on Wednesday and Luis Enrique insisted his approach would not change.
“Why don’t we have a first-choice starting XI? Well, that’s right. I have to make my decisions,” Enrique said.
“What I am not going to do as the national team manager is – and if people don’t agree I don’t care – to make my decision according to what Pepe, Manolo or Lucas want.
“I’m a professional coach with an extensive CV that proves what I achieved as a football manager, so that is why the Spanish FA hired me.
“I won’t change my way of doing things. I have a 24-player squad right now and any of them could play tomorrow, which is much better than having just 11 key players.”
Mira que teníamos ganas de volver a La Cartuja de Sevilla…
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) March 30, 2021
The former Barcelona coach added that there were benefits to giving his players more experience in the starting line-up with a view to this year’s European Championship.
“In that case, if three players suddenly get injured, then I would have to use some players at the Euros who would be lacking in confidence,” he said.
“I don’t believe in doing that. I had a successful career, so why should I change now? I respect every opinion but I am the manager and my experience proves that.
“And in the Euros that is how I will do it, it’s the same for the World Cup when my contract will expire.”
The former Spain international added he respected Kosovo and their style ahead of Wednesday’s game in Seville.
“I have watched them in some games where they press high up the field intensely, a daring and brave side that try to play the ball from the back,” Luis Enrique said.
“I like their team, given that they take risks. They will make it hard for us in some stages of the game. They have good attacking players with a good striker and then [Valon] Berisha and some other good creative midfielders.”