De la Fuente, Spain Coach, Quiets Critics Following Underwhelming Start with La Roja


De la Fuente, Spain Coach, Quiets Critics Following Underwhelming Start with La Roja

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MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Coach Luis de la Fuente Wins Over Critics With Stellar Performance

Having faced skepticism upon his appointment nearly a year ago, Luis de la Fuente has now garnered widespread support as the leader of La Roja. Under his guidance, Spain has regained its status as a formidable contender, comfortably securing a place in the 2024 European Championship after a resounding 1-0 victory against Norway on Sunday, marking the team’s sixth consecutive triumph.

We are continuously learning,

De la Fuente commented. “The assessment back then differed from what it is now. We have just achieved a significant objective and must continue to work and evolve. While acknowledging our strengths, we recognize the areas that require improvement.

Sixty-two-year-old De la Fuente took over from Luis Enrique following Spain’s defeat to Morocco in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar. Initially relatively unknown in Spain, having spent years coaching the nation’s youth squads, his

leadership was met with doubts.

The team’s initial struggles, including a challenging qualifier against Norway and a defeat to Scotland, placed De la Fuente in a precarious position early on.

However, De la Fuente orchestrated Spain’s victory in the Nations League, triumphing over Italy in the semifinals and securing a penalty shootout win against Croatia in the final. Subsequently, Spain dominated Georgia 7-1 and Cyprus 6-0 in qualifiers, and secured a 2-0 win against Scotland at home before sealing their place at Euro 2024 with a win against Erling Haaland’s Norway on Sunday.

I’m content with our accomplishments,

De la Fuente expressed. “When you attain something of this magnitude, it signifies that things have been executed correctly. Yet, in football, one day you’re at the top, and the next you face

challenges. Therefore, maintaining equilibrium is crucial. I am currently pleased, yet I remained composed during the tougher periods.

De la Fuente’s strategy involved entrusting the capabilities of younger players. He retained talents like Gavi, Ansu Fati, and Pedri, who had already showcased their skills at the World Cup, while also introducing 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, the

sensation from Barcelona. His experience with the nation’s youth teams proved instrumental in his success, ultimately solidifying his position for the foreseeable future.

We have a team that is geared towards the future, which is what excites me the most,” he affirmed. “Our dedicated efforts have brought us to this point, and we have earned it. Let us relish this moment.


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