Alvaro Morata vowed to continue pushing to earn a place in Spain's squad for Euro 2020, accepting he faces a fight for a spot.

Morata returned to the squad this month and opened the scoring in the 7-0 thrashing of Malta in Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday.

The forward has scored seven goals in 13 games for Atletico Madrid this season and the 27-year-old wants to continue his form to guarantee a spot at next year's European Championship.

"I am confident on the pitch and I know I will have to give everything during the season in order to be at the European Championships," Morata told a news conference on Sunday.

"There won't be space for everybody. I want to keep going, doing everything I can for Atletico and Spain.

"If I play well at the club the Euros will be closer at the end of the season for sure."

Spain have already progressed from Group F ahead of hosting Romania in their final qualifier at the Wanda Metropolitano on Monday.

Robert Moreno has overseen six wins and two draws since first taking charge of Spain in March and the head coach has been happy with his side's progress.

"When you give all you have in order to get everything and you can see the players do that as well, so you can just give 10 out of 10," he said.

"Results sometimes are complex and I think we have done a really good job, my mum says that when she watches us on TV and I agree with her.

"I am giving my staff and my team 10 out of 10 as I couldn't ask more from them."

Moreno is wary of Romania, who are third in the group and have secured a spot in the play-offs.

"I don't think it will be easy, I think it will be even more difficult because when there are teams playing for something there is some pressure, which sometimes is bad for the team," he said.

"Romania are not playing for anything as they have secured a place in the play-offs, so that will make them a more dangerous opponent.

"I would like Cosmin Contra to continue coaching Romania. He is doing a good job. I think he is a good coach. If he wants to keep coaching Romania I think it will be good for the country."

Santi Cazorla scored his first Spain goal for four years as two debutants also got on the scoresheet in a 7-0 thrashing of Malta in Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday.

The Villarreal veteran struck 41 minutes in after Alvaro Morata had put Robert Moreno's men ahead, before the floodgates opened in the second half at Estadio Ramon de Carranza.

Moreno made seven changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Sweden last time out and handed debuts to Pau Torres and Dani Olmo in the second half, each of whom repaid him with a goal.

A fine strike from Pablo Sarabia, a simple finish for the impressive Gerard Moreno and a late Jesus Navas effort secured a resounding victory in Cadiz for a Spain side who were already assured of their place at next year's finals.

Morata scored his seventh goal in as many games for club and country with 23 minutes gone, bundling a finish beyond goalkeeper Henry Bonello after Gerard Moreno turned a loose ball goalwards.

It was Morata who prevented Spain doubling their lead 27 minutes in, the striker judged to be interfering with play from an offside position when Moreno blasted home the rebound after a brilliant Bonello save denied Sergio Ramos.

Moreno somehow failed to turn Sarabia's cross into an unguarded net, but the second goal did come - and in some style - four minutes before the break. Cazorla gathered Moreno's first-time pass and slotted the ball in off the left-hand post for his first international goal since 2015.

Cazorla went off to a standing ovation eight minutes after the restart as Spain set about securing the result, with only a brilliant clearance off the line from Jonathan Caruana denying Sarabia.

Spain ended the match as a contest with two goals in the space of a minute, Torres chesting the ball in from Paco Alcacer's flick-on from a corner before Sarabia arrowed a left-footed finish into the top-right corner from Moreno's lay-off.

Olmo became the second debutant to get on the scoresheet, rounding the goalkeeper before slotting home after the Malta defence was split by Thiago's pass, and Moreno at last got his goal when he tapped in Juan Bernat's cut-back.

Navas capped a fine outing for Spain with the goal of the game five minutes from time, sending a dipping strike over the stranded Bonello from 25 yards out.

 

What does it mean? Spain's old guard give Moreno food for thought

Raul Albiol, Navas and Cazorla might have a combined age of 101, but they started this game entirely on merit given their club form.

While this was as routine as qualifying matches get, none of the three looked out of place and could all hope to be part of the final squad for next year's tournament.

Marvellous Moreno makes amends for miss

He will likely never know quite how he missed his first-half chance, but Moreno made up for it with three assists and a second-half tap-in in a lively performance down the Spain right.

Bonello bamboozled

His defence did not exactly help him in the second half, but neither did Bonello cover himself in glory, particularly with his positioning for Navas' goal.

What's next?

Spain conclude Euro 2020 qualifying against Romania in Madrid on Monday, when Malta host Norway.

Alvaro Morata suggested Atletico Madrid pay no attention to criticism after he fired the capital club to a vital win at home to Espanyol.

Atleti were winless in three in all competitions and four points off the pace in LaLiga coming into Sunday's fixture, with leaders Barcelona and second-placed Real Madrid each winning a day earlier.

Diego Simeone's men fell a goal behind to Sergi Darder's clinical strike, before Morata came to the fore, creating Angel Correa's equaliser and then scoring himself.

Koke made sure of the points in stoppage time to send Atleti into the international break on a high after a mixed start to the season.

Even as the team have toiled, though, losing to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League in midweek, Morata insists their attitude cannot be questioned and the squad are united in ignoring external analysis.

"We are always motivated," he said, having scored in a sixth straight game in all competitions. "It may be that sometimes we do well and sometimes we do not. We always go out to win - and today, we have done it.

"Inside the team, we are a compact group and we are not affected by what is said about us. If we do what we have to do, we will go far this season."

Morata added he felt Atleti had been unfortunate in previous matches not to win and so had no qualms about collecting three points from an unconvincing display against struggling Espanyol.

"The important thing is that we win," he said. "I always say it.

"In the end, it is about being all together, in moments like the other day [in Leverkusen] or in Seville [last week's 1-1 draw with Sevilla], matches in which I think we deserved more.

"But today we have won and added three important points to move up the table.

Morata's contributions turned the match on its head after a tough start in which Atleti looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back, not aided by the unorthodox presence of Saul Niguez at left-back.

Renan Lodi, talked up by his coach on Saturday, was left on the bench, and Simeone explained: "I wanted to have more strength and to have a replacement for Lodi, who had been playing many games and needed a break."

Alvaro Morata scored for the sixth match running as Atletico Madrid returned to winning ways, beating Espanyol 3-1 at home to remain within touch with the top two in LaLiga.

Striker Morata, recalled to the Spain squad this week, has discovered his best form but Atleti had been struggling, winless in three in all competitions heading into this match.

Espanyol looked capable of furthering their misery for 45 minutes, too, leading through Sergi Darder's strike, until Morata created the leveller for Angel Correa in first-half stoppage time.

Morata, who had earlier squandered a clear opening, himself struck early in the second period, and Koke added a late third for Diego Simeone's men to move back within a point of leaders Barcelona and second-placed Real Madrid, both of whom won on Saturday.

Morata missed a huge chance to extend his outstanding scoring streak after 16 minutes, running onto Vitolo's measured pass and lifting the ball over Diego Lopez but missing the right-hand post.

Espanyol started to forge their own opportunities at the other end, however, and Darder was clinical, pouncing on a slack exchange between Thomas Partey and Koke to lash high past Jan Oblak.

Yet Morata was influential as Atleti got back on level terms on the stroke of half-time, with the forward reaching the byline and lifting a cross onto Correa's head for a simple finish.

The VAR confirmed Morata was onside in the build-up, much to Espanyol's frustration, as Naldo - earlier substituted injured having been run ragged by Vitolo - was booked on the bench for his protests.

There was a flurry of activity at the start of the second half, with Atleti denied a penalty as David Lopez and Felipe clashed, before Morata made amends for his earlier miss, holding off a recovering defender to beat Diego Lopez with a right-footed effort.

Espanyol still might have recovered a draw, but David Lopez was penalised for a foul on Koke prior to heading beyond Oblak, although the Atleti captain appeared to have tangled with a team-mate as he clutched his face.

Instead, Koke settled matters at the end of a rapid counter-attack, controlling substitute Diego Costa's cutback and sliding low into the net.

Dani Olmo has been named in the senior Spain squad for the first time for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, while Alvaro Morata has been recalled.

Coach Roberto Moreno has boosted his attacking options ahead of matches against Malta and Romania, although Spain have already booked their place in next year's finals.

That includes a call-up for Olmo, who starred as Spain won the European Under-21 Championship in June.

The winger, who came through Barcelona's famed academy, has subsequently impressed for Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, scoring four times through the qualifying rounds and the group stage to date.

Morata is also included, alongside Borussia Dortmund forward Paco Alcacer.

Atletico Madrid's Morata has rediscovered his best form in recent weeks, netting in five consecutive games in all competitions heading into this squad announcement.

Spain have injury concerns elsewhere in the squad, but Rodri has surprisingly been selected.

The Manchester City midfielder suffered a hamstring injury against Atalanta in the Champions League last month, and manager Pep Guardiola suggested he would not return until after the international break.

Moreno has opted against bringing in Dani Ceballos, though, after the Arsenal midfielder - who sustained a similar issue this week - was ruled out of the weekend's Premier League action.

Jordi Alba is missing, too, meaning Jose Luis Gaya comes back into the squad.


Spain squad in full: David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Pau Lopez (Roma); Jose Luis Gaya (Valencia), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raul Albiol (Villarreal), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Juan Bernat (Paris Saint-Germain), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao); Rodri (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Saul (Atletico Madrid), Fabian (Napoli); Paco Alcacer (Borussia Dortmund), Dani Olmo (Dinamo Zagreb), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Rodrigo (Valencia).

Alvaro Morata insists he is not focusing on his own goalscoring exploits after Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo Alaves, stating he would just play tennis if individual exploits were important to him.

Atletico produced another underwhelming performance at Mendizorroza on Tuesday but looked to have escaped with all three points when Morata struck 20 minutes from time.

Lucas Perez then scored in style late on with a curling effort, denying Atletico the chance to go top of LaLiga for a few hours.

Morata's effort made it three goals in as many outings for the striker, though his personal form is not his top priority.

"If I worried about myself I would play tennis. I'm as disappointed as everyone else is in the locker room," the Spain international told reporters.

"We had chances and we did not take advantage of them. For us, two points escaped us, but we also have to see the rest of the teams and what they will do on a trip as difficult as this one."

Morata missed a good opportunity to make it 2-0 shortly before Perez's equaliser and coach Diego Simeone believes it would have been game over had Fernando Pacheco not made the save.

"The goalkeeper made a great stop, the ball was not going wide of the goal," Simeone added.

"Alvaro was fine and the goalkeeper kept Alaves in the game because the match was over with the second goal."

Simeone also pointed to Atletico's poor first-half display as a major contributor to failing to claim the win.

"In the first half Alaves were better, they were more intense, more aggressive, pressing well and controlling the second ball," he said.

"Overall, Alaves played a great game in the first half, we did it in the second half. We played well, we had situations, we pressed higher, we played between the lines.

"If we keep playing as in the second half and clearly understand what we did in the first half, we will have done well.

"It's clear that if a team doesn't start well in the first half, it's always the responsibility of the coach, because they were not excited and pumped to do well."

With Barca's 5-1 win over Real Valladolid, Atletico Madrid sit third in LaLiga. Real Sociedad, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal could all move above them across Wednesday and Thursday.

Diego Simeone says Diego Costa is happy to see Alvaro Morata has found form for Atletico Madrid despite losing his own place in the starting line-up.

Morata came off the bench to score the only goal of the game in the 1-0 Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday and then got the second in Saturday's 2-0 LaLiga defeat of Athletic Bilbao.

While Morata is seemingly growing in confidence, Costa appears to be struggling for meaningful minutes in 2019-20.

The 31-year-old has scored only once from open play this season and was relegated to the role of substitute for the weekend game at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Simeone, though, has dismissed any suggestion Costa is feeling resentment or frustration at Morata's contrasting form.

"He looks happy that Morata has scored and that he has that consistency in front of goal," the Atleti boss told a news conference on Monday. "They are good team-mates and friends. We keep working with Costa and everyone.

"It's normal for strikers to be worried where goals are coming from. Everyone shows the personality they have on the outside.

"As happens with strikers, [Morata] is much freer, looser as a result of his play."

Atletico can move top of the table with a win at Deportivo Alaves on Tuesday, at least until Barcelona play Real Sociedad a few hours later.

With the Clasico having been postponed last weekend, promoted Granada took the chance to go top after 10 matches by beating Real Betis 1-0.

Simeone thinks the balanced league table at this stage of the season shows how LaLiga teams have begun to improve defensively.

"The numbers from the first 10 matches speak for themselves. Nothing else needs to be said," he added.

"There are very good coaches. In Spain, there have always been good footballers for the associated way of playing and teams have acquired qualities to become better defensively. We see that in a lot of teams."

Diego Simeone praised the enthusiasm of Atletico Madrid strikers Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata despite their struggles in front of goal this season.

Atleti have just one win from their past five LaLiga games but are only three points behind leaders and city rivals Real Madrid.

Simeone's men have drawn a blank in each of the four encounters they have failed to win in this stretch.

Costa and Morata have each scored only once in the league so far this campaign, but Simeone sees little reason to be concerned about the duo.

"I think they are great, they're doing good, even if they haven't proved it with goals yet - and I know that's their bread and butter," Simeone told a media conference. 

"I think their involvement, predisposition and their will to improve is awesome. I hope they keep it that way, it's their challenge

"They both scored one goal in La Liga, Morata played less than Diego but I see both are enthusiastic. I can see they want to improve.

"We have to keep calm and know they are two important players for this club and the team. We hope that they will start scoring soon since it's part of their lives, [but] I sincerely think they're doing good."

Atletico welcome Valencia to the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, with Simeone hoping his players hit their stride quickly upon returning from the international break.

"When they come back from the national team, it is not easy," Simeone added. "They're playing more and more games with the national team and that's difficult for the teams and obviously for the players as well.

"They play almost every day. We hope they adapt again really fast to the club and competition.

"Tomorrow's game is against a competitive and historic team like Valencia, they are really powerful at recovering and counter-attacking.

"A few things are changing with [Albert] Celades from what it was with Marcelino, but obviously the team already had a structure and I imagine the coach is combining it to do the best for the team.

"They are dangerous, dynamic and have a dangerous counter-attack, and we think that's the way our rival will play tomorrow."

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