Fernando Torres is adamant Spain will only get better at Euro 2012 despite failing to hit top form against Italy and Croatia.
The opening 1-1 draw against Italy was followed by a 4-0 demolition of the Republic of Ireland, but only an 88th-minute Jesus Navas goal against Croatia secured top spot in Group C for Vicente del Bosque’s men.
The world and European champions have previously been successful after starting competitions slowly, however, and enter the quarter-finals on the back of a 17 match unbeaten run.
“We have not played at the level that Spain can reach and we have to try to be better in the next game,” Torres told reporters.
“Spain has to return to her level.”
Spain’s performance against Croatia drew particular criticism, with Italy set to win Group C until Navas’ late goal.
Torres, however, praised his country’s performance and the tactics employed by del Bosque.
The Chelsea striker admitted Slaven Bilic’s team had been largely successful in restricting Spain’s attempts to pass into dangerous areas.
“It’s a way of playing, maybe not one that would suit every side but it is a way of trying to win,” Torres said.
“It was a very intelligent approach from Croatia. We were in a game against a team with their central midfielders playing very deep, denying us space to play the final ball.
“Their plan was to remain compact and then try and play on the counter-attack.”
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