Three reasons why it’s all going right for Luis Enrique’s Spain
Enrique’s men face Wales tomorrow night
Spain’s World Cup display last summer was – to put it kindly – underwhelming. La Furia Roja won just one game before crashing out to hosts Russia in the Round of 16.
With the camp in turmoil following revelations that then-head coach Julen Lopetegui was off to Real Madrid, things seemed bleak. But the national side have been revitalised since Luis Enrique took the reins in July.
The Coral News Team look at what he’s changed (and hasn’t), and why it’s all smiles so far.
Lead role for Rodrigo proving a smart move
Very much a bit-part player for Spain up until Enrique’s arrival, Valencia hitman Rodrigo Moreno spent just 23 minutes on the field at the World Cup. But he’s looking like a key man for Enrique.
The 27-year-old has played 90 minutes in their first two UEFA Nations League goal, chalking up two goals and an assist.
His breathtaking cross set up Saul Niguez’s equaliser against England, before the Valencia man flicked home an instinctive winner at Wembley. And he followed that impactful display up with a bustling performance in the 6-0 demolition of Croatia.
Whether or not he maintains this red-hot streak of form remains to be seen. But the way he’s thriving under Enrique only boosts Spain’s options up top.
He hasn’t messed with the formula too much
The main issues under Lopetegui were never tactical ones. Primarily it came down to the distraction of his agreed departure to Madrid, and an occasional lack of cohesion in the side.
Enrique has been smart enough to realise that Lopetegui’s 4-3-3 set-up wasn’t the problem. He’s stuck with it for each of his two games in charge, with the same balance of Sergio Busquets sat behind two more creative players in midfield.
It’s a system the Spain squad know inside-out, as well as one Enrique had huge success with as Barcelona boss. As the old saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
He’s picking on form
One criticism of the Spain side under Lopetegui was that his choices had sometimes become rather stale – and emerging talents weren’t getting a chance to show their promise. That could hardly be more different under Enrique.
The 48-year-old gave a debut to skilful Valencia full-back Jose Gaya in the 6-0 demolition of Croatia, as well as to midfield prodigy Dani Ceballos.
Having also included in-form and uncapped Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Jonny in the squad for the upcoming games against Wales and England, the boss appears to be making all the right calls.
A repeat of their 6-0 trouncing of Croatia is available at a huge 80/1.
As for the lethal Rodrigo, he’s 6/5 to Score Anytime.
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