Javi Martinez warns against Spain complacency ahead of World Cup 2014 qualifiers

The Bayern Munich midfielder believes that teams up their game when facing the World champions, whilst revealing he would be willing to drop into defence if required
Javi Martinez believes that Spain are still the team to beat in international football, but says they must maintain their high levels of motivation if they are to prolong their success.

The world and European champions have been the outstanding team over the last five years, but Martinez is wary of complacency as La Roja prepare for World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and France.

"Spain are the team to beat. It is an extra motivation for the opposition and for ourselves we must match that," he told reporters ahead of his side's game in Minsk on Friday.

"Much of the qualification is at stake and a win would be an important step. It is important to continue on our current path - it seems that it is now easier to win matches but it is not."

The clash with Belarus is next on the agenda for Vicente del Bosque's side, but many supporters are already looking forward to Tuesday's meeting with France, and Martinez believes it will provide a stern test for the Euro 2012 champions.

"They have continued with a nucleus of players from last year, players with great potential," he added.

"It will be very difficult, they are a difficult opponent and they are a power of European football that are going to make us sweat."

With Gerard Pique omitted from the squad, Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol are the only recognised centre- backs available to Del Bosque, but Martinez feels he could provide cover should one of the pair suffer an injury.

"Last year thanks to Marcelo Bielsa I acted as cover in defence and grew into that position. At first I struggled but I then got used to it," Martinez explained.

"I’m playing as a midfielder for Bayern and I’m available to the coach. I have not spoken with him yet, but it would not affect me if I moved back to defence and I will be happy to play there if needed."

Along with Pique, Juan Mata and Martinez's former Athletic Bilbao team-mate Fernando Llorente were left out of Spain's latest squad, but Martinez has backed the trio to bounce back and prove themselves ahead of the next international fixtures.

"That a player like Mata is not in the squad shows how hard it is to be selected and the quality that is available in this squad. He is one of the five best players in the Premier League in my opinion," he praised.

"We cannot all be selected, many deserve it, but he is very strong psychologically and he will improve and be a major player so that he convinces the coach and returns to the national team.

"Llorente is a winner. That he is not here is painful for him, but he knows that he has to play in the Athletic team to earn a spot. I think that he is among the top strikers in the world and when he reaches his best he will bring us much joy again."