Enrique praises Ramos as ‘unique’ player’s penalty secures win for Spain
Luis Enrique praised match-winner Sergio Ramos after Spain battled to a 2-1 victory over Norway to open their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
The hosts dominated possession and chances at the Mestalla but needed a 71st-minute penalty from Ramos after Norway had cancelled out Rodrigo’s opener with their own spot-kick from Josh King.
Boss Enrique told TVE in comments reported by Marca: “I’m happy with everything, with the attitude and how we performed after our talk in training during the week.
“Maybe we weren’t so effective and we must reinforce the confidence of our players because solidarity is fundamental.
“We did well and we knew we would have to suffer to win because Norway defend well, but we did that. Sergio Ramos did very well for us with his penalty. He is a unique player in history.
“We just have to be happy and value all of the positives. I’m confident we can improve with the support of the players.
“I think that we deserved to win 5-1 or 6-1, but football only rewards you for goals and we knew we had to be physically strong.”
King rued the part Norway played in their own downfall, with a poor back pass playing in Alvaro Morata, who was scythed down by keeper Rune Jarstein.
The Bournemouth forward said on NFF TV: “We had a bit of luck in the first half when Spain created many chances, but we managed to keep it to 1-0 at the break.
“We knew we were getting chances and when we got back and got to 1-1, the most important thing was to keep the focus, but we were sloppy. When they scored the second goal, it was hard to come back again.”
Manager Lars Lagerback praised his team’s efforts, saying: “We met a better team today, but I will give praise to the players who fought the whole fight. We were too passive at first but got better in the second half.
“The team effort was very good and the guys fought for each other against one of the world’s best teams.”