Spain coach Robert Moreno has challenged his players to deliver one final Euro 2020 qualifying effort to ensure they clinch a seeded spot in next summer’s finals.
Following the resignation of Luis Enrique just five months ago for personal reasons – his nine-year-old daughter Xanita died of bone cancer at the end of August – assistant Moreno has since taken up the reins and maintained Spain’s march to the finals.
Spain maintained their unbeaten record in Group F on Friday with a 7-0 demolition of Malta in Cadiz.
The Rojo go into the final game against Romania on Monday at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid knowing a victory will ensure they are one of the six seeded nations when the finals draw is made on November 30.
“Our obligation is to be seeded,” Moreno said, on the national team website.
“It is better to reach Euro 2020 with victories, the feeling of doing well than to arrive with doubts. This is what we have been looking for.
“After Monday’s game it will be another four months before we see the players again, but experience tells me that when they will return to the national team they will remember what we have always asked of them. Great players have that ability.”
Although Moreno has only been in charge for eight months overall, taking over from Enrique in March, he feels he has set a good example and done well.
“I have always had this feeling of being a coach, although the responsibility at all times is different,” added Moreno.
“From the first game against Malta (a 2-0 win at the end of March) I have gotten along quite well. I sleep at night.
“You set the goal of qualification, and when you achieve it, you can only be grateful to the players and the people who support you ”
Moreno’s squad have embraced his ideas, witnessed against Malta as they produced their best performance of the group stages.
“Playing well and scoring is always good, against Malta or against anyone,” said Moreno.
“The players we have are very good. We worked on many things in the build-up, and they managed to interpret things very well.”
Moreno’s squad came away from the game with Malta unscathed, so his line-up becomes a question as to whether he will make changes in order to secure the win and seeding for the finals.
While automatic qualification is now beyond Romania following a 2-0 defeat to confirmed runners-up Sweden in Bucharest on Friday, they are assured of a play-off place.
Reading striker George Puscas has admitted Romania will still give their all against Spain.
“I thought with all my heart, until the start of the game with Sweden, that we would be able to qualify (for the finals), so I am disappointed,” Puscas told the national team website.
“But we have to get over it quickly, even if it is a match without a stake for qualifying, we will treat it with maximum seriousness and with the thought of victory. Any match for the national team is important and has its pressure.”