Luis Enrique believes any national team in the world would gladly have Alvaro Morata in their line-up after helping Spain reach the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.
Spain forward Morata put patchy form in front of goal behind him to fire a brilliant extra-time strike and re-establish La Roja’s lead in Copenhagen on Monday, en route to a thrilling 5-3 last-16 win over Croatia.
Before the match, Luis Enrique branded abuse and threats directed towards Morata and his family as “criminal” and urged the police to take action.
After a breathless encounter at Parken Stadium, which Spain led 3-1 with five minutes of normal time remaining, the Spain head coach once again offered unwavering backing to his centre-forward.
“I don’t think there’s a national team coach anywhere in the world who wouldn’t value Morata and what he does for the team” he said, after the 28-year-old completed 84 per cent of his passes in the opposition half and created two chances for team-mates.
“He’s dominant aerially, he’s strong and he gets us goals. We really need to appreciate having a striker like him.”
Spain fell behind in the first half when goalkeeper Unai Simon let a 40-yard backpass from Pedri skip past him and into the net.
The Athletic Bilbao keeper made amends early in extra time with a stunning close-range save from Andrej Kramaric when the score was 3-3.
“Unai gave a lesson to kids everywhere,” Luis Enrique said.
“Football is made up of errors and his reaction, making great saves, was an example of why we have such confidence in him.”
The former Barcelona boss added: “I’ve lived through really intense matches as a player and manager but this one genuinely had a bit of everything.”
After becoming the first team to score five goals in back-to-back games in European Championship history, Spain will face Switzerland in the quarter-finals.
Vladimir Petkovic’s side emulated Croatia’s feat by launching a late comeback to draw 3-3 with France before beating the world champions on penalties as Yann Sommer saved decisively from Kylian Mbappe in the shoot-out.
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