Luis Aragones insisted on the eve of Spain’s crucial Euro 2008 quarter-final against Russia on Thursday that he has no need to change his winning side.
Spain had won nine straight matches – equalling their all-time record – prior to Sunday’s victory over Italy on penalties – which counts in records as a draw – and Aragones said he will change neither personnel nor tactics.
Russia impressed everyone with their fitness against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals but Aragones has no plans to take that into account.
“No we’re not going to change. Their physical condition is their top quality but we also have ours,” he said.
“What we need to know is what works for us. I believe that they are physically better than any other team in the competition, not just us, but we need to find their weaknesses and take advantage of those.
“But there’s no denying they’re fitter and stronger. They haven’t played many matches (Russia are in the middle rather than at the end of their season).
“If this was happening in March other teams would be fitter, it’s an unavoidable fact, but we’re intelligent enough and we have to maximise our virtues and make the most of their mistakes.”
Aragones has long stuck to the tried and tested players and for their three matches here where they needed to win – their final group match against Greece had nothing riding on it – he picked an identical XI.
Asked why he hasn’t changed anything he replied: “That’s because no-one is injured.
“Things can change but the players are doing well and if a coach sees the team doing well, why should he change things.
“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Aragones also insisted that he is convinced his team will win, despite the improvement Russia have shown since losing their opening group match to the Spaniards 4-1.
And the 69-year-old said he was pleased to be coming up against a side that played attacking football having played against a very defensive Italy in their last game.
“Russia play a more open football, in one way that might be better for us,” he said.
“But their players are very fast, unbelievably fast. There’s nothing else we can do than try to cope with that.
“They’ve shown that physically they are the best team here so far but I trust my team, I’m sure we will win.
“We have to work very hard, put in a big effort but we’ll make it to the final.”
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