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By ESPN Staff

Albelda defends under pressure Spain coach Aragones

MADRID, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Spain midfielder David Albelda has said simply replacing Luis Aragones as coach will not improve his country's chances of success on the international stage.

Aragones was singled out for criticism in the Spanish media when the side slumped to a 3-2 defeat away to Northern Ireland in a Euro 2008 qualifier on September 6, two months after another disappointing World Cup finals showing.

The 68-year-old offered his resignation last week but quickly changed his mind when the Spanish Football Federation refused to accept it.

'Whether Luis Aragones is there or not, it will be very difficult to achieve anything because there is no unity. In fact it more like disunity,' Albelda, who has 38 caps, told Radio Valencia.

'Now people are asking for a change in the players: Carlos Marchena, Juanito, Michel Salgado, Raul and me. It seems we are the ones to blame for the failure at the World Cup even though we rarely played.'

Spain needed to get through a play-off to qualify for the World Cup finals in Germany, and went out to France in the second round.

They lie fifth in the early Group F standings in the Euro qualifying competition 0with three points from their opening two games.

'Spain could have a great team because it has great players. But whoever is chosen it will be very tough because there is so much pressure on the team,' Albelda added.

'The players and the fans are disillusioned. The fans identify more with their clubs, as do the players.'

Spain travel to face Group F leaders Sweden on Oct 7.