Del Bosque frustrated at persistent Spain struggles

Xavi and Alvaro Negredo goals earned a nervy win over Belarus to take la Roja closer to next summer's World Cup, but their coach is concerned with recent performances

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has admitted his team struggled to a 2-1 win over Belarus on Friday and is concerned that lacklustre performances against inferior opposition is becoming something of a pattern.

It took la Roja over an hour to break the deadlock in Mallorca through Xavi and Alvaro Negredo, but a late goal from Sergey Kornilenko ensured a nervy finish for the world champions.

While Del Bosque was happy to see his side take another significant step towards World Cup qualification at the Iberostar stadium, he conceded they have failed to play their best football during much of their recent matches.

"It is true that the match seemed a repeat of recent others we have had," Del Bosque said after the game.

"The games with Finland [in September], Georgia [last year] and Belarus have been kind of a copy.

"We can't deny we struggled and we couldn't score until the 15th minute in the second half but we can be satisfied. We carried on with our spirit after taking the lead.

"The goal they scored complicated the match and it sowed concern in us because we weren't comfortable.

"But the most important thing is we have taken a step forward in our aim of trying to qualify for the World Cup."

Del Bosque also explained that he selected Victor Valdes in goal ahead of regular captain Iker Casillas due to the Real Madrid captain's lack of playing time this season domestically.

"I have already said we are going to try to act following logic and common sense," Del Bosque said of his goalkeeper selection.

"Casillas got injured against Galatasaray and he has played just one game in these last five weeks, so we believed it was convenient that Victor took the place.

"This is not significant, we don't say that in the future he is going to play or not but we keep the incentive for the others."