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   26 May, 2002 | 1740 IST


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Spain's coach brushes aside critics

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Spain's World Cup coach Jose Antonio Camacho brushed aside criticism of the team's performance and his own tactics on Sunday, after two indifferent displays in this week's warm-up games.

Spain could manage no better than a 3-1 victory over the semi-professional Ulsan Mipo on Thursday and they were similarly unconvincing in a drab 1-0 win over K-League team Ulsan Horang-i on Saturday.

Camacho switched between four and five-man defences during those games and the players admitted they were not sure which system they were going to play in the World Cup.

The coach conceded on Sunday that Spain's passing game had not been up to standard but he refused to accept there was any confusion over tactics.

"We always play the same system," Camacho said. "There are just some minor changes depending on the opposition.

"You need to be able to react if something happens in a game, though -- a player getting sent-off or injured, for example -- and that's why we've been practising with five at the back."

Camacho has clearly been annoyed by question marks about his tactics.

"The problem is that people are writing about things they don't really understand," he said.


"Some people have come and asked me and I've explained what we're doing but others just write what they like and don't ask for my opinion.

"It's true I didn't like what I saw in the second game, apart from the final 15 minutes. Whether it was the uneven pitch or the ball I don't know, but we gave the ball away too much.

"In the final 15 minutes, after we'd adapted to the conditions, I thought we played perfectly, though.

"Of course, I'd have liked to win 14-0 but it was just a training game."

Expectation about Spanish chances is at a real low, after the side's first-round exit in France four years ago and another poor performance at Euro 2000.

Camacho insisted that confidence is high in the Spanish camp, however, as they prepare for group B games against Slovenia, Paraguay and South Africa.

"People aren't pessimistic around here -- that's just the newspapers," he said.

"Maybe if we lose our first game we'll be pessimistic about our chances but the tournament hasn't even started yet.

"When it does we'll be going in with the mentality of winners."

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