Hierro: Lopetegui and I don’t discuss football

Spain coach Fernando Hierro has revealed that he is still friends with predecessor Julen Lopetegui, but that they do not discuss football.

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Hierro took over from Lopetegui a day before the World Cup after the latter reportedly failed to tell Spain’s Football Federation that he had agreed to join Real Madrid after the tournament.

Despite the bitter fallout between his predecessor and his current employers, Hierro claims to be on good terms with Lopetegui.

“Julen Lopetegui has his job now, I have my job, and I have my hands full now. Obviously, we are not sending texts to each other, we each have our own personality and identity,” he said, according to Sky Sports.

“Right now, I am the head coach for all intents and purposes. But yes, we are friends, and we might communicate as friends, but we do not talk about football and tactics.

“Please don’t think that whenever I have to make a decision, I text Lopetegui and ask for his opinion! All of that is water under the bridge, I am aware of my responsibility and I accept it fully.”

Since taking charge, Hierro has steered Spain to the top spot in Group B. They drew their opening game 3-3 with Portugal before beating Iran 1-0. An unconvincing 2-2 draw with Morocco then sealed their progress to the last 16.

Spain will face Russia in the next round on 1 July at the Luzhniki Stadium.