De Rossi is a joker: Mourinho

English: José Mourinho

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has slammed Spain’s ‘sterile’ striker-less formation after their 1-1 draw with Italy at Euro 2012.

Vicente del Bosque chose to overlook Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente in order to play 6 midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation.

And the Portuguese boss has hit out at del Bosque’s tactical approach, insisting it damaged Spain’s potency.

“It’s not good to keep on passing between Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta and (Cesc) Fabregas without creating a big threat on (Gianluigi) Buffon’s goal,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Yes, there was a big effort from Spanish midfielders but without a striker the team was sterile.”

The 49-year-old did confess to being impressed by the Italians, and is backing them to surprise a few people during the remainder of the tournament.

“Italy made a good start for their campaign. They played with big discipline in the defence,” Mourinho said.

“I think Italy can go too far in this tournament. Spain failed to stop (Andrea) Pirlo, and when the latter plays comfortable he makes a lot of problems.

“(Daniele) De Rossi is a joker of the team and one of the greatest Italian players.”


Spain will improve: Ramos

English: Sergio Ramos in Real Madrid. The size...

Spain defender Sergio Ramos believes his side showed signs of promise in their 1-1 draw against Italy at Euro 2012.

Vicente Del Bosque’s side bounced back from going a goal behind to substitute Antonio Di Natale’s effort, finding an immediate equaliser through Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas playing in an unfamiliar striking role.

Speaking after Sunday’s match, Ramos said Spain could take great pride in their comeback, and dismissed the idea that the players were distracted by rumoured bad blood between Real Madrid and Barcelona players.

“(Spain) went from strength to strength,” he told reporters.

“We found the game complicated at first, but in the second half we created more space and improved in front of goal.

“When it comes to these kind of moments, we are professionals and have to shake off (any off-field issues).”

Ramos was also keen to praise their opponents, and feels Italy could go far at the tournament.

“We played against a great Italy side that came to attack us, to press us, and they have players who can make the difference,” he said.

“They are going to be an important team.”