Vicente del Bosque has insisted he has no regrets about his World Cup squad selection, despite Spain’s disastrous tournament which saw them head home after the group stages.
The coach has been criticized for not freshening up an ageing side containing many of the players responsible for Spain’s World Cup triumph in South Africa four years ago, as his team was humiliated 5-1 by Holland and resoundingly beaten by Chile as their title defense lasted just two games in Brazil.
Del Bosque left players including Real Madrid’s Isco, Manchester City pair Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas plus stalwart Alvaro Arbeloa out of his 23-man squad, but does not think a few changes to personnel would have changed Spain’s fortunes.
"It would look stubborn on my part if I said we should have brought other players with us," he said in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC.
"We could have included maybe two or three [different] players, but I don’t think it would have changed the fundamentals very much. We trained well, we worked well, and the players conducted themselves magnificently. This ending was unthinkable, I don’t think anyone said this would happen."
The coach also sought to defend the more experienced hands in the team, such as Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Xavi.
"All the players have passion for their sport, for football, that goes for the young players and the older players, in that sense there’s no difference in the group," he said.
"Once and for all, we have realized that this isn’t about young players or older players, we can’t put Spain’s failure down to the veterans."
Del Bosque will announce whether he not he will continue as Spain coach for the Euro 2016 campaign next week, although reports indicate he will opt to stay on and complete the remaining two years of his contract.