Michel Salgado believes there is a future for Luis Enrique’s youthful Spain squad but says they must adapt after a shock World Cup exit.
La Roja were stunned on penalties following a goalless draw with Morocco in the last-16 on Tuesday, to curtail a tournament they had been among the favourites for.
It came after finishing second in their group behind Japan following an unexpected loss to the Samurai Blue and likely marks the end of the road for several senior players.
But with one of the younger squads at Qatar 2022, headlined by talents such as Gavi, Pedri and Ansu Fati, former Real Madrid and Spain defender Salgado believes the possibilities are still bright for the national team.
“If we want to win again, we have to make a clean slate, and we have to start working with the new,” he told Stats Perform. “I think it’s a team that can give much more in the next World Cup.
“It is a team with a lot of talent, there is no doubt about that. I believe that what we cannot be right now is fatalists. On the contrary, I think we have to be positive.
4 – Spain have become the first nation in World Cup history to lose four penalty shootouts, while they’ve become just the second side to not score in one after Switzerland against Ukraine in 2006. Calamitous. #MARESP #WorldCup2022
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2022
“We are not going to change our identity. Spain is a country that is measured by the football of possession and control of the game. What we do have [to do is] adapt to modern times.
“I think it’s time to analyse how we can be more effective with what we have and look for that group that can be back to win the World Cup.”
Salgado accepted the frustrations of Spain’s ignominious exit, but says it is unfair to compare their achievements to those of the side that dominated world football over a decade ago.
“Obviously, for the fans, it is a disappointment,” he added. “I have to see it from a different angle. I think it is a young team, a team at a time of total change.
“The pressure, I think that’s the first thing we have to erase. We have to make a clean slate and start getting the best out of the players we have now.”