Luis Enrique expressed regret over José Gay’s removal from Spain’s World Cup squad, but insisted he made the right choice despite Valencia apparently claiming the left-back’s injury was minor.
Gaia was ruled out of Spain’s selection last week with an ankle injury in training, and although media reports at the time suggested that his recovery would be short-lived, Luis Enrique replaced him with Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde.
Upon his return home, the Spanish edition of AS reported that the Gaia club quickly declared him fit.
But when Luis Enrique addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Spain’s first World Cup match against Costa Rica, the manager was adamant that Gaia’s injury would have ruled him out for at least part of the group stage.
For the coach of the Spanish national team for a long time to do without a player was an insurmountable obstacle.
“As for Gaia, it happens everywhere,” Luis Enrique told reporters. “I have to make decisions.
“If I followed my heart based on his professionalism, he would be here, but I can’t make decisions based on my heart. I have to use my mind.
“In three games, he could not play 100 percent. I have to make the best decision for the whole team and the whole country. Imagine if I listened to Valencia or what Gaia wanted, which would be okay, and then imagine if [Jordi] Alba is injured.
“We would start the World Cup without a left back, and then imagine what you would say about me. You ask why we risked the situation.
“My mind was that I had to make the best decision for the team and without a doubt it’s best to have two full backs ready for the World Cup.”
In good and bad times…