SPAIN

Sergi Roberto likely to miss Albania clash, says Lopetegui

The Spain coach told the press today that Sergi Roberto has a muscle strain and will most probably sit out Sunday's qualifier in Shkodër.

Sergi Roberto likely to miss Albania clash, says Lopetegui
GENT SHKULLAKU AFP

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui spoke with the press this afternoon and confirmed that Sergi Roberto is likely to miss Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Albania with a muscle strain having sat out training this morning.

Injuries have hit the squad hard this past week. The first to fall was Javi Martínez, who was replaced by Real Sociedad’s Iñigo Martínez before Saúl was replaced by Ander Herrera. Jordi Alba was forced off during the 1-1 draw with Italy in Turin (Arsenal’s Iganico Monreal was called up in his place) and now it appears that his Barcelona teammate Sergi Roberto has been the latest casualty.

Lopetegui also discussed a number of other issues ahead of the game, including the match conditions in Albania and competition for places in the squad.

Sergi Roberto travelled with the squad to Turin but is unlikely to face Albania in Shkodër

The condition of the pitch in Shkoder

“I’m not going to talk about the state of the pitch. The match is all that counts.”

Creating chances

“I’m happy with the chances we created. We’ve scored nine goals in two competitive matches. What would worry me is if we hadn’t won 13 corners. We needed to create chances: Italy play very well at the back.”

Competition for places

Competition will be strong in the squad throughout the campaign. The World Cup isn’t for another two years. I won’t decide the starting XI until tomorrow because there are players who are still dealing with injuries, like Sergi Roberto.”

Albania, Spain’s next opponent

“Albania are a tough rival for us. They showed their quality during the European Championships this summer. We’ll need to be on top of our game.”