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On eve of Euro final Aragones criticises Spanish Federation

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Jun 2008

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Spain coach Luis Aragones criticised his employers on the eve of Sunday's Euro 2008 final for not sounding him out about a new contract.

Aragones is leaving the post he's held since 2004 having got Spain to their first major final in 24 years to return to club football with Turkish side Fenerbahce.

But the 69-year-old made it clear here Saturday that if it had been left up to him he might have stayed on to build on his success here and guide the team to the 2010 World Cup.

Without mentioning the Spanish Football Federation by name he told the eve of final press conference: “I'm standing down because nobody asked me anything. So I decided to go and there's no turning back.

“I don't want it to be used that I wanted to go.”

He added: “I've had four years defending my country, and to stop defending my country will bring some nostalgia but I'll still work in football because I have to work.”

Turning to Spain's chance of winning their first title in 1964 he then evoked the oldest and perhaps truest maxim in sport.

“I've spoken to my players and told them everyone forgets the second-placed team. No one talks about 'nearly champions', but tomorrow we have a difficult rival – it's no more or no less than Germany.”

Aragones said he may be forced to switch tactics in the absence of injured striker David Villa.

“Villa's absence has an influence. We'll be less able of getting into their penalty area but on the other hand it will make us stronger in midfield.

“I haven't decided anything yet, perhaps I'll use two strikers…”

Comparing the strengths of Sunday's two Vienna finalists Aragones, who is attributed with producing one of the finest Spanish sides in many a year, remarked: “Germany are very strong physically and in dead ball situations.

“They're taller and stronger dealing with high balls – that's where we're going to suffer a bit – perhaps I should by a ladder for my players!

“I'm sure Germany though are concerned that the football we play on the ground will create problems for them too.”

One of the characteristics of this Spanish team is their powerful sense of unity prompting La Furia Roja's manager to observe: “You can have great teams and great players but without a good atmosphere in the group you can't win.

“It's helped us to be successful and get to the final.

“What have I done to help this? I try to make all the players feel equal, those on the pitch and those on the bench. The other important thing is that the team should get and understand what I say too them – it's as important what I say as the way they understand it.”

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