As Spain battled Georgia, coach Luis Enrique said he felt as if he was about to have a heart attack on the sidelines.
Spain came out with a disappointing home draw against Greece a few days earlier and appear to be on the verge of another failure that will leave La Roja without a win to start their World Cup qualifiers.
His chances of securing an automatic place for next year’s World Cup in Qatar will suddenly be in jeopardy, even though he has only played against some of his easier opponents in Group B.
Danny Olmo’s goal two minutes after Sunday’s break saved the 2-1 victory, which left the team two points behind Sweden at the top of the group, bringing much-needed relief to Luis Enrique.
But the coach expects more problems for Spain, including on Wednesday against Kosovo, the least experienced team in the group.
“I’m worried about entering the match against Kosovo, I’m very worried,” said Luis Enrique. “If we don’t have our best game or the right precision or finesse, we will have to win it with our hearts or our minds. Spain must be at the next World Cup. We don’t even consider not doing it. “
Luis Enrique seems to have been very concerned, given that Kosovo is only playing in its second World Cup qualifying campaign, having won just one point in the first. He lost to Sweden 3-0 at home on Sunday in his only group game so far this year.
Spain, meanwhile, entered its qualifying campaign as the group’s favorite, ahead of Sweden, which began with a series of victories when Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to international football after almost five years.
But Spain’s poor performance in their first matches gave Luis Enrique a reason to worry.
The team controlled the possession, but tried to go through the strict defense scheme of their opponents.
“We already know that our opponents do not do it easily and that they all have quality, even these national teams at different levels,” said Luis Enrique. “We suffer more against this type of national team than when we play against Switzerland or Germany or Ukraine. . “
Spain led Germany 6-0 to the League of Nations in their last match last year.
“It’s football and we have to accept it,” said Luis Enrique. “But I’m really worried about getting into the game against Kosovo.”
The coach renewed the team after the match against Greece, but failed to make them play much better against Georgia. They failed to create very significant chances in the front and looked vulnerable in the back.
“Maybe this was the game we suffered the most from start to finish,” said Luis Enrique. “But this end was worth it. I will endure the suffering if we win in the end. But it is true that the concern about our qualifications was there and will continue to be there, because we will not face easy enemies. “
Only the 10 winners in the group qualify directly for the final tournament in Qatar, with the runners-up to take part in the playoffs in March next year.
Luis Enrique also had to answer questions after the match about his decision to leave captain Sergio Ramos out of the squad.
“It was a technical decision, Sergio was fit to play,” he said. “I know that everything related to Sergio Ramos will cause controversy, whether he plays for five or 90 minutes. I got used to this. ”