Del Bosque relieved with result
Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque was a relieved man after Roberto Soldado's 85th minute goal secured the world champions a win in their opening World Cup 2014 qualifier in Georgia on Wednesday night.
Spain had controlled the game with 80 per cent of possession but the well organised Georgian defence had denied them many clear opportunities and the home side were just minutes from a famous result.
Spain finally made the breakthrough when two substitutes - Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fabregas - combined to set up Soldado's winner, but the World Cup and European Championship winning coach said he had never felt impatient on the sideline.
"I knew it would be difficult," Del Bosque said. "Of course there will be many people saying now that we should have made changes earlier, that the system should have been changed. But my obligation is not to upset the team. Spain is obliged to win respecting its own style."
Despite controlling the game Del Bosque was full of praise for Georgia's organisation and effort that made it such a challenge for his side.
"It took a lot out of us," he said. "It was very difficult. They were very organised at the back, worked very hard and almost achieved their objective. But we dominated the game enough to win. Not having done so would have been a setback."
Valencia striker Soldado, who was often surrounded by three Georgian central-defenders, said he was delighted to have scored, especially after missing a rare clear opportunity in the first half.
"It was a hard-working victory against a rival who just concentrated on defending," Soldado said. "They all stayed in their own penalty area, even when they had the ball. We had few chances to score, but the most important thing in these sort of games is to take those that come along. I was a bit angry with myself for missing a clear chance earlier, but luckily I was able to score then to get the win. We knew we had to be patient and not get hit on the counter-attack."
Despite a brave performance from his side, Georgia coach Temuri Ketsbaia was disappointed his side was not able to hold on and record a heroic result.
"If you asked me before the game I would have said a one goal defeat was a dignified result for Georgia," Ketsbaia said. "But having seen what happened in the game, I do not accept that and I am not happy. We were on the point of drawing with the world champions, against Spain with all their players. We dropped a little in intensity towards the end."
The former Newcastle man praised his starting goalkeeper Giorgi Loria, who made a string of excellent saves, but had to go off injured before Soldado scored.
"He is a keeper for the best teams," Ketsbaia said. "I suppose big teams in Russia will soon make him big offers that maybe western European teams could not match."