Spain CT Luis Enrique said he will ‘cheer for Italy’ in the Final if Roberto Mancini’s men win ‘in the right way’.
La Furia Roja prepare for the semi-final at Wembley against Italy tomorrow and Luis Enrique spoke at a press conference.
He started talking about the players who are unavailable and gave an update on Aymeric Laporte’s injury situation.
“Laporte didn’t train yesterday, but he has recovered,” the coach said at a press conference. “He preferred to rest, but everyone is available.
“[Pablo] Sarabia no, he didn’t make this trip. Everyone is fine and everyone wants to be on the pitch tomorrow night.
“I want to give value to advancing, it’s impossible to underestimate the opportunity. Tomorrow’s game is a great opportunity, the players will have time to think about the match.
“There’s a great target ahead and we will have to be at 100 per cent.”
Luis Enrique spoke about Italy’s style of play and stressed the Azzurri are similar to the Spanish side.
“We are among the leaders in possession, but they also want to dominate the game,” Luis Enrique continued. “It’s the first battle to be won on the pitch.
“They are good even without the ball, something we saw during the tournament. And they are comfortable with the ball, if we had to play another game we could adapt, but we would prefer to have more ball possession.”
“I wouldn’t speak of hunger but of a group that has shown a desire to be part of the starting line-up. I don’t know if it’s hunger, but it’s a good approach, every good team have this characteristic.
“We need to limit our defects and create a good team spirit. Hunger is synonymous with the desire to do something important.
Luis Enrique said he feels the ‘support from the management’ and pointed out that his deal with La Furia Roja expires after the World Cup next year.
“I have always felt the support from the management, it’s a pleasure to be able to represent Spain as a coach, as it was as a player,” he continued.
“I have a contract until the end of the World Cup, I feel everyone’s support. It is up to the others to judge my work, I’m calm. I always try to give 100 per cent and I’m surrounded by excellent professionals, I have this luck.
“I’m a leader but I don’t enter the pitch. The important ones for the win are the lads who play, who are on the pitch. There are many in the group, the difficulty is to press, to score, to be careful of the movements of the opponents and we have many players who know how to do these things.
“If we reach the Final, it would be thanks to them.”
Luis Enrique praised Italy defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini ahead of the big game against the Azzurri.
“They are two important players, with experience, but I don’t pick my XI based on who plays for them,” the former Barcelona coach continued.
“I’m focused on what we don on the pitch. I would have liked Leonardo Spinazzola to be there, the more good players on the pitch the better it is for football in general.”
Italy CT Roberto Mancini said he finds it unfair that the tickets for the semi-final won’t be split between Italian and Spanish fans only.
Luis Enrique said he hopes to have more Italians and Spanish fans in the stands than English people.
“England could reach the Final and there would be many English fans at the stadium. Regardless of these factors, it’s a particular situation,” he added.
“I hope there are more Italian and Spanish fans than English. We can’t manage this situation but let’s not waste too much energy talking about it.”
Luis Enrique said he’s not looking for revenge against Italy, as he himself decided to leave Roma, and revealed he looks forward to seeing Daniele De Rossi again tomorrow.
“I left because of my decision, Roma wanted me to stay at the club,” he continued. “It was my decision, there’s no revenge.
“I like Italy a lot, I always try to visit it. It’s nice to play against Italy, we will meet again in October, in the Nations League. For me, it’s always a pleasure.
“I spoke to De Rossi two or three weeks ago on the phone, I’ll be happy to see him again. We were younger 10 years ago, but I was trying to play proactive football then and now, it’s my identity.
“If we win tomorrow, it will be a great thing for us, but if Italy should do it, in the right way, I will cheer for Italy in the Final.”