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'I did not deserve ugly Luis Enrique criticism' - Moreno feels 'personally attacked' by Spain boss

22:12 WAT 28/11/2019
RobertMoreno - cropped
Luis Enrique publicly criticised Robert Moreno this week and the former La Roja coach has now issued a defiant response

Former Spain coach Robert Moreno has insisted Luis Enrique's "ugly" claims that he was "disloyal" and "ambitious" are unfair.

Moreno served as Luis Enrique's assistant for the national team until the latter stepped down in June to care for his young daughter, Xana, who died in August following a battle with bone cancer.

The former became coach at that point and oversaw Spain's qualification for Euro 2020 before he was informed Luis Enrique would be coming back as head coach.

Moreno was not appointed to Luis Enrique's staff a second time following an apparent fallout, as the former Barcelona boss questioned his former deputy's motives.

But the departed coach hit back as the feud continued on Thursday, suggesting he was always "faithful" to Luis Enrique.

Moreno also pointed out an alternative replacement when Luis Enrique initially departed would not have been so accommodating in granting him a return.

"I don't want to go into reproaches, but I have been personally attacked and labelled with something that I am not," he told a news conference. "In this puzzle, my pieces are missing.

"Nine years ago, I started working with Luis Enrique. We have always followed him, being faithful, until he reached the national team.

"Nobody knew for how long he would be out, but what we all did know was, if there was a possibility for him to return to the national team, our staff would have to stay.

"So, I stepped up and took charge of the team. If I had not done so, now Luis Enrique would not be coach of the national team. It would be another coach."

Moreno said he was left "in a state of shock for a week" after learning Luis Enrique did not intend to make him assistant again.

He added: "To this date, I honestly don't know why Luis Enrique doesn't want me to be with him. I don't know as he was not clear in his news conference.

"He labelled me with two adjectives ["disloyal" and "ambitious"] that are very ugly and that I don't deserve. I have proved over the whole time I worked with him that I am not like that.

"The years will pass and I will still not know. He could not explain it - or I could not understand it according to what my people have told me, as I did not watch the news conference myself."

Preferring to look forward, Moreno reiterated his desire to continue a career as a head coach despite a testing first high-profile experience.

"I have just started," he said. "I am really excited to be back on the pitch, to handle training sessions, to manage a team, to make decisions, to attend news conferences. I'm really looking forward to it.

"It has always been my passion to become a head coach. I am someone who started from the very bottom but was able to reach the top level."