Cesc Fabregas has leapt to the defence of the under-fire Diego Costa , hailing his Spain and Chelsea team-mate s "a great striker".
After impressing heavily in Spain with Atletico Madrid, Costa opted to switch national teams from his native Brazil to represent La Roja and was seen as a potential star for the European champions.
However, the striker has flopped in Vicente del Bosque's team so far and Saturday's goalless outing in the 2-0 win over Slovakia means he has now managed to find the back of the net just once in eight games for his adopted nation.
Fabregas, though, has voiced his support for the 26-year-old attacker, arguing that a lot of his good work goes unnoticed.
“Costa is a great striker," he told reporters. "Last season, he scored more than 20 goals and on Saturday he won a penalty to make it 2-0.
"He's good at creating space."
Fabregas also urged former Barcelona colleague Gerard Pique to ignore the Spain fans who once again whistled him on Saturday due to a perceived lack of patriotism.
“Pique must carry on playing, being the best centre-back he can be and giving everything for the team to win the critics over," the midfielder stated. "Time heals everything.”
Spain's victory over Slovakia saw Del Bosque's men draw level with their opponents at the top of Group C but claim first place thanks to a superior head-to-head record.
The pair are just three points clear of Ukraine with three games still to play, but Fabregas is supremely confident that La Roja will claim a place at Euro 2016.
“We're now the leaders and it's likely we'll qualify for the European Championship,” he added.
“We had a great first half against Slovakia and I think we gave a very complete performance.
"The squad is full of top players and hopefully we'll continue to do well."