Spain fans serenade ‘bad’ Morata for struggles

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Spain boss Luis Enrique has defended Alvaro Morata after a number of fans sang “Morata, how bad you are” at the forward during a 0-0 draw with Portugal on Friday.

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Just under 15,000 fans attended the friendly at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium — home of Morata’s former side Atletico Madrid — and saw the Juventus striker miss a series of chances.

When he hit the crossbar in the 91st minute, a section of the home crowd turned on the 28-year-old, singing “Morata, que malo eres” (Morata, how bad you are).

“I don’t care,” Luis Enrique said in his post-match news conference. “It doesn’t worry me… [Morata] worked himself to death pressing, he was looking dangerous, a constant threat, he ran for 40 metres at top speed, fooled the goalkeeper and had the bad luck to hit the bar. That deserves a standing ovation.

“My job is to generate confidence, to see the players at their best,” he added. “I don’t get annoyed when my players miss chances. What they have to do is create them.”

Morata faces competition for a place in the Spain starting XI from the in-form Gerard Moreno, who scored 23 league goals for Villarreal this season.

“We believe in Alvaro,” teammate Fabian Ruiz said. “He can score goals and he did a good job. The missed chance was a shame but we’re with him, we know he’ll do well.”

Spain looked comfortable for long spells against Portugal — the reigning European champions and UEFA Nations League winners — but suffered from a familiar lack of cutting edge.

Spain play Lithuania on Tuesday in their second friendly ahead of Euro 2020, before playing their three group games against Sweden, Poland and Slovakia in Seville.

On Friday there were also some whistles for Luis Enrique — who formerly coached Barcelona — when his name was read out over the tannoy before the match, as well as for Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I didn’t even notice the whistles,” Luis Enrique said. “It doesn’t affect me at all. It annoys me when it’s [directed at] the players, but it doesn’t matter to me. I know what it is to be a public figure. It even gets me going.”



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