Spain beat England 2-1 in Luis Enrique's first match in charge of the team.
The Luis Enrique era for Spain began with a win in the new manager’s first game in charge, as ‘La Seleccion’ saw off England 2-1 at Wembley in a close-fought affair.
Enrique, brought in to revitalise the national team after a second straight disappointing World Cup, saw several key players play at their best to ensure a victory that often looked precarious.
Here’s a closer look at how the new Spain boss got his reign off to the best possible start.
Goals – 2
Shots – 9
Possession – 55%
Accurate passes – 533
Dribbles – 5
Enrique’s first team selection as Spain manager saw the side adopt a familiar 4-3-3, with Real Madrid playmaker Isco part of the front three alongside Iago Aspas and Rodrigo, while Nacho replaced the retired Gerard Pique at centre-back.
As usual, Spain dominated possession, and scored two slick goals after falling behind early. However, they didn’t quite make their dominance count, with keeper David de Gea being called upon to make a couple of outstanding saves to preserve the win.
TACTICAL TALKING POINT
Spain had dialled down the high press during the World Cup, but Enrique brought it back, and it had an instant impact. England kept trying to play out from the back, but Spain’s relentless attackers constantly harried the Three Lions backline, drawing several errors.
However, the press also left Spain exposed on occasion, as the players committed left space behind. When England were able to bypass the press, they exploited that, finding their wide men with aplomb.
Getting the win was a good way to start for the former Barcelona and Roma manager, but when Enrique knows his side survived by the skin of their teeth. The defending was shaky at times and better England finishing would have certainly led to a loss, while Spain didn’t create enough opportunities of their own.
Getting a new-look midfield and an attack shorn of Diego Costa to work seamlessly was impressive, and augurs well for the future.
However, there’s still a lot to work on.
RATING – 7/10