Pedri trusts Morata to find scoring form after Spain striker misfires

By Sports Desk June 15, 2021

Pedri has backed Alvaro Morata to prove he can be a leader in the Spain team after the striker had an off night in the goalless draw with Sweden.

Morata missed one particularly golden opportunity late in the first half when he fired wide from a clear chance inside the penalty area.

His ambitious attempt to curl the ball into the bottom-right corner suggested Morata was perhaps overthinking a straightforward task, and another squandered opening early in the second half did not reflect well on the experienced frontman.

"He's feeling good. He is very strong mentally," Pedri said on Tuesday in a Spain news conference. "He is a great player and gives us a lot. I am convinced that from now on the goals will come."

Morata, who spent last season on loan to Juventus from Atletico Madrid, had three goal attempts against Sweden but did not hit the target with any.

The stalemate in Seville was a blow to Spain's hopes of making a strong start to their Euro 2020 campaign, and Pedri, the 18-year-old Barcelona midfielder who was an assured presence in Luis Enrique's team, hopes the public stand by the team. There were jeers on Monday night for Morata.

"It is much better to play when people applaud you than when they whistle at you," he said. "I want to keep the applause, which helps us more.

"For me it was a game that we dominated from start to finish. They also had two chances, that's true, but we played a great game and if we continue to create chances in the end the goal will go in."

Spain had a staggering 85.1 per cent of possession and led the attempted passes count by 917 to 162.

Six different Spain players, including Pedri, each completed more passes than the entire Sweden team.

Pedri, on the night he became Spain's youngest player in a major championship, matched Jordi Alba for a game-high 90 attempted passes inside Sweden's half.

There were complaints in the Spain camp about the state of the pitch at La Cartuja, with Luis Enrique unhappy it was too dry a surface to be ideal for his team's slick style of play.

The stadium is where Spain will play Poland in their second group game on Saturday, and they also face Slovakia there four days later.

Pedri agreed with his coach but said Spain should have been able to cope.

"The grass is no excuse," he said. "We did not draw because of the grass, but it was not in the best condition. We hope that for the next game it will be better to be able to play our football."

Related items

  • Abraham caps memorable debut Serie A season with a slice of history Abraham caps memorable debut Serie A season with a slice of history

    Tammy Abraham capped a memorable first season in Serie A with a slice of history as Roma defeated Torino 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday. 

    A first-half double saw Abraham become the highest-scoring English player in a single season in the Italian top flight, surpassing the previous mark of 16 set by Gerald Hitchens at Inter in 1961-62. 

    The only Roma player to score more than the England international's haul of 17 in a debut Serie A season with the club was Rodolfo Volk, who registered 21 in the 1929-30 campaign. 

    Abraham has also found the back of the net nine times in 13 appearances in the Europa Conference League this season and is hopeful of capping a memorable campaign with a victory in the final against Feyenoord on Wednesday. 

    "I would have loved to get three, to score a hat-trick for my team, but the most important thing is we won," he told DAZN. 

    "I fell in love with this club on the first day and I'm always going to help the team as much as possible with my goals and assists. It's been a good year for me. I'd like to build on it and hopefully we can finish with a trophy and this will be the perfect year." 

    Asked if he will stay at Roma, Abraham replied: "I love this club. They've given me the opportunity to show myself and my heart is here. We'll see what the future holds but my heart is here." 

  • Paris Saint-Germain confirm Di Maria departure Paris Saint-Germain confirm Di Maria departure

    Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Angel Di Maria will leave the club upon the expiration of his contract. 

    Di Maria joined PSG from Manchester United in 2015 and has gone on to enjoy a stellar stint in the French capital. 

    The former Real Madrid winger has won five Ligue 1 titles, enjoyed as many Coupe de France triumphs and collected four Coupe de la Ligue trophies. 

    He has not been able to help PSG win the Champions League, though he did get a runners-up medal in 2019-20. 

    Di Maria, who scored in a 4-0 rout of Montpellier last week, contributed to 40 goals in his first season at PSG, scoring 15 and providing 25 assists. 

    In the 2021 Coupe de France final, his pass for a Kylian Mbappe goal saw Di Maria become the player with the most assists in PSG's history (104). 

    He has assisted 71 goals in Ligue 1 since his debut in 2015, 27 more than any other PSG player in that time frame, and created 482 chances – way clear of second-ranked Neymar's tally of 267. His 55 goals place him fourth, behind Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Mbappe. 

    Lionel Messi's arrival last year limited Di Maria's minutes, with the Argentine featuring 30 times across all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign and starting 21 of those games. 

    On Friday, ahead of PSG's final game of the season against Metz, Di Maria posted a picture of the squad to his official Instagram account with the message: "Gracias. Merci." 

    "Angel Di Maria has definitely marked the history of the club," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. 

    "He will be remembered by supporters as a player of impeccable spirit, who showed unwavering commitment to defending our colours.  

    "I invite the whole Paris Saint-Germain family to meet [Saturday] at the Parc des Princes to pay him the tribute he deserves." 

    Reports have suggested that Juventus have lined up a move for Di Maria, who turned 34 in February. 

  • Real Madrid 0-0 Real Betis: Blancos finish triumphant LaLiga season with sedate draw Real Madrid 0-0 Real Betis: Blancos finish triumphant LaLiga season with sedate draw

    Real Madrid closed out their title-winning LaLiga campaign with a low-key 0-0 draw against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu on Friday. 

    Neither team had anything to play for and that was clear from the outset, with the match played at a sedate tempo as Madrid looked to avoid overexerting themselves ahead of next weekend's Champions League final against Liverpool. 

    Carlo Ancelotti named a strong line-up for the match but Los Blancos remain winless and goalless in five home league games against Betis. 

    Marcelo and Isco were sent on for their final appearances at the Bernabeu but it was not to be a triumphant farewell as Betis held on for a draw. 

    Toni Kroos fired wide after Karim Benzema's shot was blocked and Willian Jose narrowly missed the target from 20 yards after an open start to the half. 

    Decent openings were few and far between, but Casemiro rifled a low drive just outside the post on the stroke of half-time after charging through the middle. 

    Benzema volleyed straight at Rui Silva seven minutes after the restart and Rodrygo sent his follow-up wide under pressure from Marc Bartra. 

    Joaquin came off the bench in the 74th minute for his 600th LaLiga appearance, joining Andoni Zubizarreta (622) as the only players to reach the milestone. 

    The 40-year-old winger was unable to mark the occasion with a goal as he lifted an effort from the edge of the six-yard box over with three minutes remaining, but the point was enough for Betis to clinch fifth place.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.