Luis Aragones has broken his silence regarding his decision not to call up Raul for the Spain squad to face Denmark this weekend...
Luis Aragones has pledged that no personal grudge or favouritism has influenced his decision not to summon Raul to the Spain squad.
With David Villa recently pulling out due to injury, many speculated that Real Madrid veteran Raul would be drafted in as a replacement. Instead, on-form Raul Tamudo of Espanyol joined teammate Luis Garcia in the Furia Roja camp.
Now, Aragones has defended his decision in an interview with the RFEF (Spanish Football Association.)
"Of course I can make mistakes, and so can others," he said.
"Perhaps there's no one truth and others have good reasons for what they think. Nonetheless, I believe that my reasons are completely objective, because they are based on the form and the careers of the players."
He said that the long view of players' progress was responsible for his calling up Espanyol's Albert Riera, as "months of following him" have shown that he's ready for international football.
Aragones has come under fire both for his squad selections and a series of questionable performances, culminating in a 1-1 draw with Iceland last month.
That result threw Spain's qualification chances into question, but Aragones insists that the criticism and pressure from the fans will not get him down.
"I thrive on external pressure," he boomed.
"I know what's at stake; I know that I need to do my all, and do it better than ever.
"I don't have to be obsessed by the external factors, but I've gone through similar spells before and I know that I enjoy fighting through them. It's one of the advantages of experience."
Spain are fancied to beat Denmark in Aarhus on Saturday but can take nothing for granted, given their record up until this point. Indeed, Aragones seemed to indicate that a draw might not be disastrous.
The former Atletico Madrid coach shrugged, "The match could be considered a final, so we'll need to commit to it, even though there are more games to come.
"A draw would be a good result, but we're still going to go and look for the win. We have the quality to win there, and it would help our place in the standings.
"Denmark, though, have a very good team, and play particularly well against the higher-ranked countries."
Aragones concluded by defending his side's circuitous route towards qualification, emphasising the closeness of the race. "Except for Germany and the Czech Republic, who are both practically qualified, all others are still fighting for a top two berth," he said.
Luis took over as Spain boss in 2004, following 30 years as a club level manager with the likes of Barcelona, Sevilla, Betis and Valencia.