Spain midfielder Pedri said fans should actively try and lift the spirits of striker Alvaro Morata rather than boo him after he missed a clear chance in Monday’s 0-0 draw with Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 game.
Morata had been booed by fans in a goalless friendly with Portugal in Madrid earlier in June and was subjected to whistles when he spurned a glorious chance in the first half against Sweden in Seville, although a section also applauded him.
“It’s much better to play when the fans are applauding you rather than booing you but I’d prefer to think about the people who cheered us on,” midfielder Pedri told reporters back at Spain’s Madrid base yesterday.
“But Morata feels very good, he is very strong in the head. He’s a great player who gives us a lot, he’s relaxed and he knows the goals will arrive.”
The draw was hardly the ideal start Spain wanted to make as they look to try and relive the glory days when they won successive European Championships in 2008 and 2012. But Pedri, who at 18 became Spain’s youngest ever player to feature at a major tournament, backed them to get a win in their next game
against Poland on Saturday.
“We have a very good group and I think things will work out for us with time. If we play the same type of game against Poland I’m sure the ball will go in the net,” he added. “I’m sure Morata will know how to deal with all the focus and will score in the next game.”
Pedri enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough year for Barcelona last season and became Spain’s youngest ever debutant at a European Championship against Sweden. A year ago he was playing for Las Palmas in Spain’s second division. “Of course I never imagined even being here, let alone starting the first match,” said Pedri. “It is a child’s dream comes true and I am grateful to the coaches who have given me this opportunity.”
Pedri has agreed with his coach Luis Enrique by criticising the pitch in Seville after goalless draw with Sweden. Luis Enrique said after the match his players had struggled to control the ball at La Cartuja stadium, where Spain will play all three of their group games, with Poland up next.
Spain dominated possession and created several chances but failed to convert any against Sweden. “The pitch is not an excuse. It is true that it was not in very good condition and it didn’t help us,” said Pedri. “I hope it will be better in the next game.”
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