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Del Bosque preaches continuity for Spain

LAS ROZAS, Spain, July 17 (Reuters) - Vicente del Bosque preached a message of continuity at his presentation as the new coach of European champions Spain on Thursday.

The former Real Madrid boss was given the unanimous backing of the Spanish Football Federation's executive committee on Tuesday, to replace Luis Aragones who quit to join Fenerbahce after having led the side to victory at Euro 2008 last month.

'The objectives are clear. In the short term we have to qualify for the World Cup and to do well at the Confederations Cup next summer,' Del Bosque told a news conference.

'We also have the objective to maintain the style with which Spain has achieved one of the greatest moments in its history, and we need to maintain the group that has been so important in this success.'

The 57-year-old, who was capped 18 times for Spain between 1975 and 1980, did not believe the success in Austria and Switzerland had set him too tough a standard to try and maintain or improve on.

Spain's 1-0 final victory over Germany in Vienna earned them their first major honour in 44 years.

'Many people have said this, but it would have been far worse to be taking over a side who had gone out in the quarter-finals again, having to try and raise everyone's spirits,' he said. 'Other countries would be envious of my position.

'I want to keep this momentum going and bring my own experience and way of doing things to the side in order to try and make improvements. Football is a constantly changing environment and you cannot afford to stand still.

'The path has been marked out and I do not intend to stray too far from it.'

The quietly-spoken new coach calmly batted away questions over which new personnel might come into consideration for the World Cup campaign and his first official match, a friendly in Denmark on Aug. 20.

The names of Real Madrid striker Raul and midfielder Guti, both controversially sidelined under Aragones, were put forward, as was that of Barcelona's teenage striker Bojan Krkic, as potential new faces under his regime.

'We need to have patience. Raul and Guti play for a great club and, of course, in a different era I have worked with them. But when it comes to taking the decisions I will listen to people but always do what I think is best for the team,' he said.

'Bojan has played for Spain in the youth categories and if we think it is appropriate, of course we will use him.'

The 17-year-old Bojan ruled himself out of the running for Euro 2008 after consultation with the Federation citing the pressure of playing in a major tournament.


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