Belfast Telegraph

Spain coach Fernando Hierro keeps faith with David de Gea for Iran tie

The Manchester United goalkeeper was at fault for the second goal of Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick.

Trust has become the Spain camp’s buzzword following the shock pre-tournament sacking of coach Carlos Lopetegui with replacement Fernando Hierro the latest to use it to express his faith in David de Gea.

The Manchester United goalkeeper was at fault for the second goal of Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal in Sochi in their Group B opener.

It was a rare error from the usually impeccable 27-year-old and Hierro, who stepped in to lead the team when Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the tournament for agreeing a deal to become Real Madrid manager, insists it makes no difference to him.

“I have 23 players with their own character and you cannot treat them all the same,” he told his Iran pre-match press conference when asked what he had said to the goalkeeper.

“De Gea will play tomorrow, we trust him 100 per cent. In the last couple of years he is one of the two or three best goalkeepers in the world.”

The word trust cropped up again when squad veteran Andres Iniesta was asked to assess, considering the 3-3 draw against Portugal, what affect the upheaval and change of coach had been.

Iniesta was keen to brush aside any reopening of the debate, insisting it continues to be business as usual under Hierro ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Iran.

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Andres Iniesta insists the players never had any doubts over installing Fernando Hierro as coach after Julen Lopetegui’s sacking (Frank Augstein/AP)

“We only care about sporting matters,” he said.

“It’s true it was a difficult situation but that is part of the past and we want to concentrate on sporting matters only.

“The match the other day was not easy but I think the team has shown we know what we are doing and we trust what we are doing.

“Most of us have been playing together for many years and we know each other very well and we trust each other blindly.

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Iniesta says Spain’s squad is united and trust each other “blindly” (Manu Fernandez/AP)

“We are trying to defend the same ideas and concepts.

“We want to forget the change. It is true it wasn’t a nice thing for anyone, a difficult situation for everyone, and now we want to concentrate on what we have to do.

“Do we have any doubts considering the changes of the coaching team? No we don’t, we never had any doubts.

“We trust our coach and what we have done before and what we are doing now is going to work well we think.”

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Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz insists playing Spain can only be positive for his side – whatever the outcome (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Iran’s former Real Madrid manager Carlos Queiroz admits his side have not been given a chance against the 2010 world champions.

But he was keen to put a positive spin on the situation.

“Playing against Spain we are in a winning situation because we will be better after the game,” said Queiroz, who will be without the injured defender Roozbeh Cheshmi.

“It is a unique opportunity for our players to learn more about the game and be better.

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Iran’s game against former champions Spain will be a vital learning experience, according to coach Carlos Queiroz (Themba Hadebe/AP)

“What we did in our last match (beating Morocco) is not important but neither is Spain’s reputation. We have to play our best game ever.

“If there was a magic potion to compare (Iran) to the Spanish team for a million dollars, we would buy it, it would be cheap.”

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