Less than two months before the World Cup, Luis Enrique's Spain left La Romareda touched.
After the defeat against Switzerland that forces Portugal to win tomorrow in Braga, the only spirit that could be perceived in the crestfallen parade of the footballers towards the bus was that of the kids who cheered on the internationals.
The setback does not have the excuse of a duel played at the beginning of the course to claim lack of rhythm, nor at the end to argue tiredness.
With a month and a half of competition in their legs, the Spanish internationals signed the worst first part of the Luis Enrique era, as the coach himself confessed, and one of the games that has generated the most doubts.
The coach could not hide a certain disenchantment with the game.
The meeting left worrying symptoms line by line, the three were very low during almost the entire match.
Spain's mistake was multi-organ against a team that complicated the game in all areas of the field.
The defense not only won two goals from set pieces.
There were several alarming plays during the first half in which Switzerland easily discovered holes in the backs of Eric Garcia and Pau Torres.
“We have lost balls, it was clear that we were not fresh with the ball”, analyzed César Azpilicueta.
The Chelsea captain also hinted at the need to fine-tune the defense from set pieces given the two goals conceded from corner kicks and the struggle to defend the rest of those executed by Switzerland.
“We have to be self-critical, we are not the highest team in the world,
The defense was also involved in another facet of the game in which it was surprising that Spain was not fine.
The ball exit from behind was not clean as on other occasions.
He missed this defect because Luis Enrique's choice of goalkeepers and central defenders has a lot to do with the start of the game and the ability to find the free man when the rival presses the ball out.
“From the beginning they created difficult situations in which they pressed well up the pitch, taking risks without any problems”, admitted the Spanish coach.
If with the forward pressure of the Swiss, neither Unai Simón nor his defense were lucid, neither did they break lines when Switzerland fell back.
Neither Eric García nor Pau Torres was lavished on driving beyond the center of the field.
For a team that rules games from possession, the performance of its three midfielders was also sub-par.
Luis Enrique formed with the Barça midfield, which at first should have been a guarantee of harmony and automatisms that would allow them to overcome the pressure from Switzerland.
Gavi, as always, played with the revolutions raised for the remove and the struggle, but he did not unbalance with the pass.
Nor Pedri, perhaps the most fallón of all.
Although he did not point it out to him, his loss provoked one of the most critical reflections that Luis Enrique has made since he took office in September 2018.
“I hadn't seen many of these players turn the ball over easily, only giving it to their teammates at close range.
This team monopolizes the ball and we need to take advantage of the quality of the players”, explained the Asturian coach in disbelief at the poor performance with the ball that the team displayed in the first half.
Switzerland's defense of the three midfielders was a problem that neither they nor the coach were able to solve in the first 45 minutes.
Marco Asensio, lined up as a false nine, was unable to link damaging play with either Gavi or Pedri when he went down to receive.
The formation of the forward also left doubts.
The first being made up of three players who are not starters at their clubs.
This, for Luis Enrique, does not seem to be a problem.
"In football, players with this experience, even if they have fewer minutes at their club, are prepared to give us solutions," he argued.
In his discharge, the coach can say that the goal for Spain was made between Asensio and Jordi Alba, substitutes in their respective clubs.
During the World Cup the same circumstances may occur and it remains to be seen whether or not this will be a problem given the greater competitive demands that the event entails.
It was in the placement of the wingers, Ferran Torres and Sarabia, where there could have been a greater mistake by Luis Enrique when designing the attacking game.
Ferran Torres and Sarabia played because of their natural profile, supposedly to be able to get the crosses out more quickly and easily.
However, the absence of a reference nine like Morata or Borja Iglesias made it impossible for them to be effective.
The same thing happened to Jordi Alba when he won the bottom line.
The well-intentioned low crosses from him, due to the air superiority of Akanji and Elvedi, found no finisher.
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