Soccer-Spain coach De La Fuente surprised by sudden promotion


Soccer Football - Spain Training - Ciudad del Futbol Las Rozas, Madrid, Spain - June 7, 2021 Spain under 21 coach Luis De la Fuente during training REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain Under-21 coach Luis de la Fuente admitted he was surprised by the events of this week after a sudden promotion to senior team coach for the game against Lithuania on Tuesday.

De La Fuente will take charge of a Spain Under-21 team representing the senior side after captain Sergio Busquets's positive COVID-19 test meant the squad and backroom staff had to go into isolation on Sunday.

"Just 48 hours ago I was in Slovenia (at the Under-21 European Championship), yesterday I was in my hometown and now I'm here," De La Fuente told a news conference.

"In exceptional situations, you have exceptional solutions. I just can't wait for tomorrow's game.

"I'm the Under-21 coach and nothing will change with that, my way of working or professionalism. The players will be just as excited as I am to represent Spain. For me, it's such a sense of pride to represent my country."

The Spanish FA confirmed that the rest of the senior squad had tested negative on Monday, and De La Fuente said he sympathised with their plight after undergoing a similar situation with the Under-21 squad at the end of May before June's European Championship.

"When we has this situation it was a terrible week because you cannot control things, knowing you have so many tests just increases the tension.

"We were lucky because a lot of the players could have gone away, but the vast majority were still here. A few were away and couldn't make it. Everything was just so quick and we had to call up players in record time."

(Reporting by Joseph Walker, editing by Ed Osmond)

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