Reina defends striker-less Spain formation

The reigning champion struggled to create against a stubborn Italy side, but backup goalkeeper insists Vicente del Bosque's tactical approach was correct
Spain backup goalkeeper Pepe Reina has backed Vicente del Bosque's decision to employ a striker-less formation during his side's 1-1 draw with Italy.

In the absence of the injured David Villa, Del Bosque overlooked Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente in order to start Cesc Fabregas in the 'false 9' role.

The Barcelona man went on to score Spain's equalizer and Reina believes that criticism of his side's tactical approach is unfair given that Fabregas regularly features in that position for his club.

"I really wasn't surprised to see Cesc starting there," he told reporters. "He has played there before for us and has played very well. He is a player who not only creates a lot of space but he also has intelligent movement. And it was from his movement that we got our goal, and so for that we are all really pleased."

However, the Spaniard was critical of the pitch in Gdansk, insisting that the grass had been too long and the pitch too dry for his side to pass the ball well.

"We had more of a problem with the pitch. The grass was a little too long and they didn't wet the pitch," he added. We needed it wet for some 75 minutes before the match. But we are not complaining. We knew it was going to be difficult to play against Italy."

"They are a strong team that plays very well together. I think we were perhaps the better team but looking at it overall I suppose a draw was a fair result. We just have to make sure now that we win the next game."

Despite seeing substitute Fernando Torres miss several chances after his introduction, Reina was full of praise for his former Liverpool teammate.

"He did well I thought," he added. "The thing is that he created chances and that is important, and he could have won the game for us. We now have to make sure that next time we win the game."

And the 29-year-old went on to speak about his club, hailing the recent appointment of new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

"We really welcome this move and we are all very optimistic about it. Hopefully we can have a better season next year now and I can't wait to get back." Reina enthused. "I always like to play like that. I am like a sweeper keeper I think that is my style and I think his way will really suit me. It's not going to be a change in a blink of an eye so you have to give him time as he will bring in new ideas."

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