AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called for more constructive criticism and less negativity as the European champions prepare to take on Netherlands in a friendly in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
Spain’s 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Dutch at last year’s World Cup finals marked the end of La Roja’s glittering six-year run when they won back-to-back continental titles with a debut World Cup in between, beating Netherlands 1-0 in the final in Johannesburg.
Since then, Spain have stuttered in qualifying for Euro 2016, dropping three points behind Group C leaders Slovakia after a 2-1 defeat away to the eastern Europeans in October, and have come in for some sharp criticism in the normally adoring Spanish media.
However, Del Bosque insisted Spain are on track to secure their place at next year’s tournament in France and indicated he was ready to change things around if needed.
“Before the criticism was always favourable and now there is a lot of emphasis on the negative,” he told a news conference previewing the game at the Amsterdam Arena.
“We have a very mature and fixed national team but we shouldn’t be satisfied with what has already been achieved,” added the 64-year-old. “We have to be rebels as well.”
Del Bosque said he was likely to field a completely different team on Tuesday to the one that ground out a 1-0 qualifying victory against Ukraine in Seville on Friday.
New faces such as Malaga forward Juanmi and Sevilla midfielder Vitolo are likely to make their debuts, he said, adding that he had no thoughts of revenge for the reverse to Netherlands in Salvador in June.
Spain’s Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is likely to start on Tuesday and urged fans to give the new players time to bed in with the established internationals in the squad.
“Some important people have retired but those who are coming into the team are full of desire,” Cazorla told an earlier news conference.
“Maybe we need some time,” he added. “The players are united and believe in what they are doing. That is really what is important for us.”
After Tuesday’s outing, Spain are not in action again until June when they play away to Group C rivals Belarus.
They host Slovakia in September in a match that could decide who secures their place in France as group winners.
Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Justin Palmer