Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque has reacted angrily to criticism of his team selection and stories of disagreements in La Roja’s Euro 2016 squad.
The 2008 and 2012 winners made a strong start to their title defence, beating Czech Republic 1-0 and Turkey 3-0 before going down 2-1 in their final Group D game against Croatia.
And, in an interview with Radio Marca, Del Bosque, who is set to retire following the tournament, questioned the motives of those directing criticism at his squad as they attempt to win the European Championship for the third time in a row.
“It is lie after lie,” he said. “You can mess with me because I don’t have anything to lose but about the team?
“It’s impossible, genuinely annoying and sad. Most people have a great sympathy towards us but some don’t.
“Do you know what a jointer is? It is a tool to remove rough edges which cabinet makers use, although there are some evils it cannot remove.
“Against the selection or anything else, when you want to talk badly about someone, you just keep rubbing away.”
Barcelona defender Jordi Alba backed up Del Bosque’s views when speaking at a prematch news conference.
He said: “I agree with Del Bosque that [the media] create the bad atmosphere. Any of the 23 players can assure you, we get along very well.
“Problems arise when people give false opinions. The great majority of our internal troubles are made up by the media.”
Alba also warned against underestimating an Italy side that were not tipped to do well at Euro 2016 but have already exceeded expectations ahead of a rematch of the 2012 final that Spain won 4-0.
“We are facing a rejuvenated version of that 2012 squad,” Alba said. “Italy are very good at taking advantage of their scoring opportunities. It will be hard to obtain such a lopsided outcome in our favour as in the 2012 clash.”
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