Luis Enrique hits out at Spain criticism following World Cup exit

Finley Crebolder
A disappointing tournament for Enrique
A disappointing tournament for Enrique / Koji Watanabe/GettyImages

Luis Enrique has hit out at criticism of his Spain team following their penalty shootout defeat to Morocco, arguing that he's happy with how his side performed.

Spain crashed out in the first knockout round for the second World Cup in a row, missing all of their spot kicks after drawing 0-0 to the Atlas Lions over 120 minutes of play.

Enrique's side dominated possession in the match but struggled to create any chances, having just one shot in target in over two hours of football. In fact, despite having the ball just 23% of the time, Morocco had their own opportunities to win the match on the counter-attack.

When asked whether his team couldn't control the match though, the Spain manager strongly disagreed, saying the only thing missing from the performance was an end product.

“Were you watching the game? Where have you been, with your back turned?" he said.

"If we have done anything, it was dominating the game. We can be blamed for having generated few chances. We lacked the goal.

"I am more than satisfied with what my team has done, who have executed my idea of ​​football perfectly. I am proud of them."

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He added that he's happy with how his players performed and that his only regret was that he didn't give more minutes to Pablo Sarabia, who was denied a likely match-winning goal by the post in the dying embers of extra time.

“This is sport. The players have carried out 100% of the instructions I have given them. But that’s it, it’s no use thinking about it. I have nothing to reproach the players for," he explained.

"I only have a regret with one player, which is Pablo Sarabia. I put him on to take a penalty and on top of that he gave me two chances. That was a mistake, he showed me that he deserved more minutes in this match.”