Martinez: Spain could be stronger after Lopetegui sacking

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Julen Lopetegui former Spain manager.
  • Post published:June 15, 2018

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez believes Spain could come back stronger following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

Lopetegui was replaced by Fernando Hierro days before the start of the World Cup after the former Porto boss failed to tell the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) about his post-tournament plans to move to Real Madrid.

While surprised by the news of the sacking, though, Martinez does not believe it will hinder Spain’s chances at the World Cup and he feels it may even bring them closer together.

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‘In football you seem not to be surprised by anything and even I think the events of yesterday were surprising,’ Martinez told a news conference.

‘He [Lopetegui] has been working really hard for two years, but again that’s the nature of the game, that’s the nature of football and it’s something we didn’t expect and it’ll be interesting to see how the group reacts to that.

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‘It could go both ways. It could go that maybe that affects the work they try to do or the opposite, you’re going to see the reaction of a group galvanised by the effects of losing their head coach, getting stronger together and facing adversity in the stronger manner.’

Martinez, 44, also addressed the fitness concerns of Thomas Vermaelen and captain Vincent Kompany ahead of their World cup opener against Panama on Monday.

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‘They are progressing with their own program. We felt it was better for Thomas and Vinny to stay in the hotel,’ he said.

‘They’re going to carry on working individually and we’re going to assess them 24 hours before the Panama game, and until then we are going to allow them to be in the best possible condition to make a good medical decision.’