Vicente Del Bosque and Spain focus on positives in friendly loss to France
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque preferred to look for some positives after his new-look La Roja side was beaten 1-0 by France in Paris on Thursday evening and said they must find a way to link up with star Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
Del Bosque handed debuts to four players, and gave two more their second caps. While there were some decent individual performances, a team understandably lacking in cohesion was punished by Loic Remy's winning goal midway through the second half.
The veteran coach told reporters after the game that his new players had fit in quite well, and it should be remembered that they had been up against top level opponents in Euro 2016 hosts France.
"There are positive things to take from the game," Del Bosque said. "We gave a good image, in the first half we played a very serious game. In the second half we had more chances. We showed we are a good team. Everyone's attitude was very good. We are working on regenerating the team, while keeping a similar group. The new players showed they have the level to be with us. France are one of the strongest teams in Europe. They will be favourites for Euro 2016."
Even with a late burst of pressure, Spain finished the 90 minutes with zero shots on target, and new Chelsea centre-forward Diego Costa again struggled to bring his club form to the international stage in his fifth cap for his adopted country. Del Bosque admitted that the connection between Costa and his midfield providers still needed work.
"We created play, we had possession, we managed the game, it was a good test," he said. "Diego Costa has showed what he is capable of, now we need to connect with him, to understand him. We found it hard to make chances, but we will improve."
Some more experienced players are likely to return for Spain's first Euro 2016 qualifier, against Macedonia at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia stadium on Monday evening. Del Bosque would not reveal whether he would stick with Manchester United's David De Gea, who looked solid in just his second senior cap, or bring back long-serving captain Iker Casillas in goal.
"De Gea was good," he said. "We are happy with him. We had to begin to play him, and we took the opportunity in an important game. He appears like a veteran. We will see how we recover and then see who plays on Monday."
Spain's best player was possibly debutant Dani Carvajal, with the Real Madrid right-back getting recognition from Del Bosque.
"Carvajal has been good in defence and very active in attack," he said. "He completed a good game."