Spain back-up goalkeeper Pepe Reina backed Vicente del Bosque’s decision to employ a striker-less formation in their 1-1 draw with Italy.
In the absence of the injured David Villa, del Bosque overlooked Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente in order to start Cesc Fabregas in the middle of a front three.
The Barcelona man went on to score Spain’s equaliser and Reina believes criticism of his side’s tactical approach is unfair given Fabregas regularly features in that position for his club.
“I really wasn’t surprised to see Cesc starting there,” he told reporters.
“He has played there before for us and has played very well. He is a player who not only creates a lot of space but he also has intelligent movement.
“And it was from his movement that we got our goal, and so for that we are all really pleased.”
However, Reina was critical of the pitch in Gdansk, insisting that the grass had been too long and the pitch too dry for his side to pass the ball well.
“We had more of a problem with the pitch. The grass was a little too long and they didn’t wet the pitch,” he said.
“We needed it wet for some 75 minutes before the match. But we are not complaining. We knew it was going to be difficult to play against Italy.
“They are a strong team that plays very well together. I think we were perhaps the better team but looking at it overall I suppose a draw was a fair result. We just have to make sure now that we win the next game.”
Despite seeing substitute Fernando Torres miss several chances after his introduction, Reina was full of praise for his former Liverpool team-mate.
“He did well I thought,” Reina said.
“The thing is that he created chances and that is important, and he could have won the game for us. We now have to make sure that next time we win the game.”
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