Spain boss Vicente del Bosque admitted his side were made to suffer for their 2-1 victory during Saturday's friendly clash with Equatorial Guinea.
Santi Cazorla and Juanfran settled a competitive encounter during which the hosts adopted a tough-tackling approach in an effort to disrupt the world and European champions.
Xabi Alonso was forced to hobble off the pitch after one such challenge, but Del Bosque insists the home side were controlled in their aggression as they worked hard to make life tough throughout the 90 minutes.
"It was an awkward match. They were physically strong and did not let us play with ease," he told reporters after the match.
"We wanted to play but were inhibited. Guinea were aggresive and they put us a little on the back foot. They, with their attitude, not violence, did not let us play."
The World champions will take on South Africa next as preparations to defend their crown in Brazil next year continue.