Soccer-Spain coach pledges to play 'Morata and 10 others' vs Poland

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By Richard Martin

SEVILLE (Reuters) -Spain coach Luis Enrique gave under-fire striker Alvaro Morata a vote of confidence by revealing he will start him in Saturday's game with Poland after he missed a clear chance in the goalless draw with Sweden in his side's opening Euro 2020 match.

"I've told Morata to keep doing what he is doing, to keep contributing everything he gives us in attack and defence. Tomorrow it will be Morata and 10 others," the coach told Spanish network Cuatro on Friday.

Morata was booed by a section of the crowd at Seville's La Cartuja stadium after missing the target with a gilt-edged chance and was also whistled by supporters in a friendly earlier this month against Portugal.

But Luis Enrique highlighted his other qualities whilst pointing out that only all-time top scorer David Villa had scored more goals for Spain than Morata's 19 after 41 games.

"I told Alvaro to stay confident, because he does very important things for the team. But I don't give him special treatment," he said in a news conference marred by technological problems.

"And compared to the rest of the players here (at Euro 2020), only Harry Kane had scored more goals for his country than Morata after 41 games, not Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski or Romelu Lukaku."

Morata insisted he was in good spirits despite the miss against Sweden, which he said was not as glaring as it looked.

"I'm very relaxed, I've been working hard to be here since I joined the under-17 team and I know that I can't please everyone. When there's criticism of your work you just have to respect that and keep working," he said.

"I don't know if the ball will go in or not but every time I put the Spain shirt on I'll always give 100 percent."

Spain welcomed captain Sergio Busquets back to the squad on Friday 12 days after he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced into quarantine.

Luis Enrique called Busquets' return "an important boost for everyone" and said he could field the player against Poland but would decide later in consultation with his coaching staff.

(Reporting by Richard Martin;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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