Inside Europe: 'Something's changed' - how Luis Enrique lost Spain's fans amid Euro 2020 struggles
Back-to-back draws against Sweden and Poland have put Spain in a difficult position at Euro 2020 with Luis Enrique bearing the brunt of the critcism. Eurosport Spain's Agustin Galan provides the inside track on what the reaction has been in the country to an underwhelming start to the torunament and what Enrique's future might hold.
Welcome back to Inside Europe in which we provide the inside track on what is happening across the continent as Euro 2020 continues to catch the imagination of football fans everywhere.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at Spain after they were held to another draw on Saturday night. This time it was Poland’s turn to frustrate Luis Enrique’s side after Sweden claimed points off the Euro 2008 and 2012 winners in their first Group E fixture.
The reaction to the draw against Poland has been way worse than it was after the first match (against Sweden). The vibes in front of goal against Sweden were not good, but they dominated the game.
However, there is much more doubt after this draw, and the fact that Enrique said in his press conference that he expected his team to be better against Poland is quite worrying. He has shown full support to his players in the past, but something has changed. He seemed frankly disappointed.
At this point, the distance between Enrique and the fans is bigger than ever. The disappointment is everywhere.The fans would like to see Gerard Moreno leading the team, preferably without Alvaro Morata. The divorce between Morata and the fans is irreversible. He was booed again when he got substituted yesterday.
Fans also want Marcos Llorente back in midfield, as it is a waste playing him as a full back when Koke and Pedri are struggling to find spaces. To sum up, the fans generally want a more physical and determined Spain.
Enrique is struggling to understand what the game demands from his team. Adama Traore is a good example of this. He is so self-convinced of his plans that he doesn't accept the possibility of having an alternative plan, like Traore.
WHY NOT TRAORE?
Everyone in Spain thought Traore would be the perfect choice for the games against Sweden and Poland. It is very difficult to understand some of Enrique's decisions. It's clear Traore’s style is far from the one that made Spain successful, but ‘Tiki-Taka’ is totally outdated and he could help shift them to another type of football - more direct and maybe more efficient.
SEVILLE, SPAIN - JUNE 19: Adama Traore of Spain looks on as he warms up during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group E match between Spain and Poland at Estadio La Cartuja on June 19, 2021 in Seville, Spain.
Image credit: Getty Images
Enrique is a good manager and a great team manager, as every player feels that they belong to a common project. Nevertheless, he has so much pride that it could sometimes be confused with arrogance, and the results are not helping.
Spanish sports newspaper AS reports there is some discomfort within the RFEF (Spanish FA). "Beyond winning or losing, the problem lies when people start rejecting the national team," one regional member is quoted as saying. However, it seems Enrique still has the support of RFEF president, Luis Rubiales. The criticism is going to intensify in the next few days and weeks, though, especially if Spain doesn't qualify for the last 16.
The only way I could imagine Enrique losing his job is if he were to resign - he is clearly fed up with the media and the fans following last night’s game.