Spain have been told they must adopt a patient appproach during Wednesday’s vital World Cup qualifier against Serbia & Montenegro.
Serbia, who leapfrogged Spain at the top of European zone Group Seven after a 2-0 win at home to Lithuania on Saturday, have yet to concede a goal in their qualification campaign.
“We must make sure we don’t get obsessed with trying to score an early goal,” centre-back Carles Puyol told a news conference in Madrid on Tuesday.
“We need to be patient, try and stretch them on the flanks and hope that we can cash in on any chances we get. But we mustn’t neglect our defence as they are good on the break so it is a question of attacking intelligently.”
Skipper Raul, who will lead the Spain attack alongside Fernando Morientes, agreed with Puyol’s assess,ment.
“We know we have got a good side but we also know we can do better and achieve much more,” he said.
“Sometimes our own anxiety and desire to do well has caused us to rush things too much, but I’m confident we’ll avoid that mistake on Wednesday.”
Liverpool striker Morientes acknowledges the scale of the task facing Spain.
“They are very difficult opponents and it is no accident that they haven’t conceded a goal because they are very well organised in defence,” he said.
“But that only gives us even more incentive to see if we can be the first team to break their run.”
“What we want is to score in order to win and not score only to end up drawing the game.”
Coach Luis Aragones remains confident his team can win and claim the automatic qualifying spot.
“If we want to finish top of the group we must win,” he said. “We are all convinced we are going to win and in a game like this there is no room for doubt.
“The players know they are better than their opponents and we just hope everything goes well because the best side normally wins.”