The former Real Madrid coach had nothing but praise for his side's stiff opponents on Tuesday night and feels that there is no longer a gulf in class in international football
The home side appeared to be on their way to a shock draw until Roberto Soldado's late goal helped the reigning champions to all three points in their first World Cup 2014 qualifier.
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"In this sense, it was not an easy match and they made it difficult for us, but we won three important points.
"We knew they would be organised, defend well and that they have options up front with strength that we had to be careful of. It wasn't through courtesy that I spoke about them being a strong rival beforehand.
"The differences in football are getting smaller every day. We have to play a qualification campaign and we can't think about anything other than just qualifying."
Spain's next qualifier is a clash away to Belarus on October 12.