Euro 2020: Luis Enrique intent on raising Spain's title hopes

Spain coach Luis Enrique said on Thursday it was his duty to raise the expectations of his players ahead of the European Championship.

Spain’s head coach Luis Enrique.   -  REUTERS

Spain coach Luis Enrique said on Thursday it was his duty to raise the expectations of his players ahead of the European Championship while remaining adamant his side has what it takes to win it.

Spain won the tournament in 2008 and 2012 in a dominant cycle, which also saw it lift the 2010 World Cup, but expectations are tempered this time around, with few players from that all-conquering side making his 24-man squad.

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Midfielder Rodri said earlier in the day that Spain was no longer a favourite to win major tournaments, but Luis Enrique said it was up to him to change his team's mentality.

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"I have to try and make the players believe it," he told a news conference ahead of Friday's friendly against European Championship holder Portugal at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

"I have to convince the players. But I'm convinced we're going to be very tough to beat. I could be wrong. But I believe we're among the six or seven favourite teams to win it."

Luis Enrique also said he was excited about the return of supporters for the game with Portugal, with up to 15,000 fans allowed to attend. Madrid's regional government has lifted coronavirus restrictions on spectators at live matches.

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"It's something we've all been wishing for. It will be a spectacular moment," he said.

"We've gone over a year without fans, and we can't wait to see 15,000 people supporting the national team."

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