STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Spain coach Robert Moreno wants an improved performance from his side as they bid to clinch a place at Euro 2020 when they visit Sweden in their next Group F qualifier on Tuesday.
The three-time European champions could have qualified on Saturday but were held to a 1-1 draw away to Norway, Joshua King’s stoppage time penalty pegging Spain back.
Despite having won their other six qualifiers in the section and sitting five points clear of Sweden at the top, needing just a draw to qualify, Moreno has demanded more from his players.
“I want more for this national team,” he told reporters on Monday. “It’s true that we pushed hard in attack and were organised to avoid counter attacks, but we lacked pressing and aggression in defence.”
Spain will have to cope without centre back and record appearance holder Sergio Ramos, who is suspended.
“Ramos is our captain and brings things that other players don’t,” added Moreno. “He’s one of the best in the world and not having him is a disadvantage.”
Sweden, though, are poised to get a key central defender back, with Victor Lindelof set to return to the starting lineup after missing Saturday’s 4-0 win away to Malta with back pain.
“We’ll need to get up to our highest level to have a chance against Spain, but we have done it before against similar opposition,” Sweden coach Janne Andersson told reporters.
“If an important player is missing, then it is an advantage for us. Ramos is a very good player, so it doesn’t harm us that he’s not playing,” he added.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Ken Ferris)