The manager missed a third successive game on Monday, and his assistant hopes the former Barcelona coach returns in September
Robert Moreno is hopeful Monday’s 3-0 win over Sweden is the last game he will be required to fill in for the absent Spain coach Luis Enrique.
Spain swept Sweden aside with ease at the Santiago Bernabeu, with second-half penalties from Sergio Ramos and Alvaro Morata added to by Alvaro Oyarzabal’s fine strike as La Roja went five points clear in Group F.
It was the third successive match Moreno has been at the helm, as Luis Enrique responded to a family emergency in March and he has been granted leave ever since.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has insisted there are no plans for Luis Enrique to resign and be replaced, with president Luis Rubiales adamant no change is necessary.
And Moreno is hopeful his colleague can return to the dugout for Spain’s next fixtures against Romania and the Faroe Islands in September.
“What I want most is for this to be the last time I have to be on the touchline,” Moreno told reporters after the game.
Despite Luis Enrique’s absence, he has not been entirely detached from the team and the selections have been decided by him.
The one that raised eyebrows on Monday was Kepa Arrizabalaga starting ahead of David de Gea in goal for a third consecutive game, with the Chelsea man’s performances in training seemingly helping keep him in pole position.
“We do not see a lot of foreign football in Spain,” Moreno said. “If you see the season finale, he had options to start. We also have Pau Lopez, three goalkeepers who give us what we want.
“[Kepa is in a] sweet moment. In life you need a good time and Kepa comes from that, from being a Europa League champion.
“Of course, we are in search of a fixed group, but it would not be good to have one [starting] team. You need more than 11 players. There are injuries that can happen, generating competition enriches the group.
“In the end you have to make decisions, but we always do everything with the best in mind for the team and for Spain.
“I do not know when the change of Kepa was decided. I spoke with Luis Enrique about this on Friday, and it was decided to keep the goalkeeper.
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“A couple of weeks ago we started thinking about it, then we saw the training, and with all the data we made the decision to keep Kepa.”