Tuesday October 17 2017
October 3, 2017

Pique’s behaviour ‘exceptional’ says Lopetegui

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui praised Gerard Pique for his “exceptional” behaviour with the national team.

The Barcelona defender was jeered by fans at training on Monday as he continues to come under fire for his support of the Catalan independence referendum.

But the 91-time Spain international has the support of his coach, who is delighted with the way the centre-back has conducted himself.

“I don’t go in and out of ideas. Gerard’s behaviour is exceptional,” Lopetegui told COPE.

“I wanted to know how he was and I’ve seen him willing and motivated. He is well and motivated. If it were not so, he wouldn’t be with me.”

Spain are on the verge of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, sitting three points clear atop Group G with two matches remaining.

But Lopetegui called for greater support of his team ahead of matches against Albania and Israel.

“I would encourage people to know that we need their support because we are not qualified for the World Cup,” he said.

“It would have been a mistake to train behind closed doors.”

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