Vicente del Bosque: I do not want to confront anyone over Diego Costa
Vicente del Bosque insists it was not a sign of "weakness" to leave Diego Costa out of the Spain squad, while stressing he must believe Cesc Fabregas when he says his hamstring injury is worse than a scan has suggested.
Costa was not called up for La Roja's upcoming games against Belarus and Germany -- despite being fit enough to play and score in Chelsea's 2-1 win at Liverpool on Saturday -- in a step widely seen as Del Bosque giving in to Jose Mourinho's wish for his player to rest a long-standing groin injury.
The former Atletico Madrid attacker played both games during the last international break while carrying the problem, and then missed the Blues' next four games through injury. Mourinho blamed Spain for the lay-off, even though he had also regularly fielded Costa while talking publicly about his player not being 100 percent fit.
Del Bosque had previously said he was "stubborn" over the issue, but has now appeared to back down to avoid further problems with Mourinho, telling Al Primer Toque that this time around he had wanted to avoid further confrontation.
"For whatever reasons, [Costa] has not been at 100 percent with us, but we cannot say he has not put in all his enthusiasm, he has always wanted to play," he said. "The last time, he complained of a groin problem, then he got a virus, and I thought that it was best to stop.
"It is not a symptom of weakness, I do not want to confront anyone. We already knew he would play with his team [against Liverpool] when we gave the list of 23. We should not force anyone if they do not feel fully right. He is the first who has asked us please not to forget him for the next squad in February."
The Costa controversy is also affecting how Fabregas' current injury is viewed, as the midfielder also played against Liverpool, before Mourinho surprisingly announced he had a hamstring injury.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation forced Fabregas to come to Madrid for tests, and then released a statement suggesting that the problem is not as serious as had been claimed by his club.
Del Bosque, though, said he had to accept a senior player's word in this case.
"We had to wait some days to see how [Fabregas'] injury was going, and we have decided for him not to stay here," he said. "Sometimes we have been flexible, but in this case no. His muscle was pretty good, but he complained, and he is the best doctor.
"I must be able to trust them. We do not know everything, but we are not clueless either. When a player of this standard says he is injured, you must believe him."
Del Bosque went on to say that club managers complaining about their players getting injured on international duty was frustrating to hear, especially when players generally wanted to come and play for their country.
"I get annoyed when they talk about that," he said. "We are also missing many players due to injuries with the clubs. If the international teams do not count for anything, and are an annoyance, they should take them away. Many people love their national team, players are proud of them. You must give them their space."
Talking about Costa again, Del Bosque admitted that the Brazil-born player was perhaps not the most obvious fit for Spain's style of play, but his movement and finishing were first class.
"We have not had good luck, he has suffered from our lack of play," he said. "If we had not decided to call him up, now we would be throwing up our hands. How Costa moves, the runs he makes -- that is never bad for a team. Maybe he is not the most technical, but not every forward has to be to score goals."