The president of the Spanish FA (RFEF) has defended his decision to fire Julen Lopetegui a day before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, following Spain's surprise exit from the competition.
Fernando Hierro took charge of Spain after it was announced that Lopetegui would not continue as La Furia Roja boss, but after their loss to Russia via penalties in the round of 16 on Sunday, many have claimed RFEF president Luis Rubiales' decision to sack Lopetegui cost them.
He has, however, refuted claims that Spain's loss was due to Lopetegui being fired a day before the showpiece began.
"We have to pass the page," Rubiales told the Evening Standard.
"When you take a decision, with values and conviction, all this responsibility gives you calm. Then we are in the current way.
"All my board and myself are completely, completely convinced that we are going in the right way.
"It's a very difficult day for us because we are going out – it's not the favourite team that is going out, but we go with the sensation that we are a better team than the team that is in the next round.
"But we say congratulations to Russia. We know how to win and we know how to lose. We have to come back in the next World Cup or European Championships... we will come back.
"I don't want to speak about technical decisions. I'm the president, I'm not a coach.
"I only want to say thank you to Fernando Hierro and his staff, and all the staff of the federation and the players. They were working a lot.
"In the next weeks, we will speak about it, but Fernando Hierro is an incredible man and he worked with spirit and I want to say thank you to him."
Lopetegui was sacked by Spain just one day after Real Madrid confirmed he will be their new manager.
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