New Spanish coach Hierro gives his first press conference

World Cup 2018 By: Iseghohi Odianosen | 14/06/2018

The newly appointed Spanish coach Fernando Hierro took the podium to give his first press conference as the coach of the national team.

Hierro replaced Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup in Russia and he is expected to take Spain to the next level in the tournament in Russia as the La Roja begin their campaign against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on Friday in Sochi.

"It is a nice challenge and an exciting one," Hierro said in his introductory press conference.

"The circumstances are what they are and from now on I accept the responsibility bravely, it can't be any other way.

"We have a group of players who have been together for two years to work towards the World Cup and I have been sporting director, so I understand the motivation is huge.

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"We cannot alter two years of hard work in the coming days.

"Many of the staff are still with us and we've watched videos about the upcoming match, so we have to be intelligent and coherent.

"From now until the Portugal match, we don't have the ability to change much.

"I have been at all the other training sessions and have been present day to day.

"We cannot change anything in two days.

"They key is to change as little as possible."

Asked what was said by the players when they were informed of the change, Hierro explained that they told him they are still excited and motivated.

"I told the players that I can look them all in the eyes," the new coach told reporters.

"I am very calm and there is no reason to not fight for what we came for.

"The squad is motivated and we have a great opportunity, so the focus has to be on what we came for, which is to fight for the World Cup.

"We cannot let these two days become an excuse.

"The priority is to focus on sporting matters.

"The players are excellent professionals and good and mature people.

"It's not an easy day for anyone, but they do a good job of being good sportspeople."

As for the man he has just replaced, Hierro thanked Lopetegui for his efforts in qualifying.

"I have the maximum admiration and care for Julen [Lopetegui] for the work he has done these two years and I wish him all the best on his new adventure," he said.

"We have known each other for a long time and I was with him after his decision, he called me to say goodbye."

Spain is drawn in the Group B along Portugal, Morocco and Iran.