Jorge Vilda has revealed that he has endured ‘very hard times’ this year amid reports of rising tensions inside the Spanish national side’s camp in the past 12 months.
Spain have lost just once during the tournament, a 4-0 defeat by Japan in the Group stages, with the 42-year-old’s side going on to defeat Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden to book their place in the final of the competition.
Fractions have emerged on the field with Vilda notably running on to the field to celebrate with his players following their quarter-final triumph against the Netherlands, but was ignored by his team and was also snubbed a handshake by Alexia Putellas during their semi-final win against Sweden.
While he as achieved remarkable success since he was appointed as the head coach, leading the team to Algarve Cup and Cyprus Cup glory and now the World Cup final, divisions between himself and his players have only escalated throughout his time in charge.
Jorge Vilda (pictured) has hit out against doubts over his ‘honour’ as a professional
There have been deep divisions between Spain coach Vilda (front) and his players during the Women’s World Cup – but the team has still made it through to the final with England
Spain’s Alexia Putellas (left) painted a frustrated figure after she was subbed off against Sweden and ignored a handshake from her manager
On Saturday, the Spaniard condemned any doubts over his ‘honour’ as a professional and added that he has had to continue to stay focused on his job.
When asked whether he felt like he had been fairly treated by the media, he told Marca: ‘I don’t appreciate it. I know what this business is about. When you win you are very good and when you lose you are very bad and you have to relativize.
‘What did bothers me is when there was any doubt of honourability and that’s when we went to a press conference and said that any player who had not been treated with respect to come out. No one has gone out and it has been shown that in these fifteen years, the relationship has been professional.’
Vilda has been at the centre of several issues within the Spain women’s national side in recent years, with some players going to the Spanish FA to complain about how they had felt unprepared ahead of their 2022 European Championship quarter-final defeat by England.
They claimed that they lacked tactical analysis of the opposition and had undergone inadequate training sessions, with several stars arranging a video call with Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales.
He did not agree with their complaints, which ultimately led to some players releasing a statement claiming there was general discomfort among the group as well as complaints around his controlling conduct.
In 2022, 15 players wrote to the Spanish FA claiming they would not be available for selection while Vilda remained in his position, asserting that he was ‘damaging their mental health’.
‘You have no choice but to focus on work and do what we have always been doing, which is to self-demand a lot after each game and after each training,’ Vilda said on what it was like to work with a team of discontent players.
‘You have to focus on the work, look at the performance of the players and try to make everything as easy as possible so that the group is lively and happy. It has been a two-month job, but I think we are now a team with all the letters.’
But he also revealed that this year had been very difficult to manage when asked to define the last 12 months.
‘Hard,’ he said. ‘There has been some very hard times. I also think it has been a year that has made us all better.
Players wrote to Spanish FA president, Luis Rubiales (pictured), but the football chief failed to agree on their concerns
Spain boss Vilda (first right) was pictured on the edge of a team selfie ahead of the World Cup final
It comes as his side are preparing to take on Sarina Wiegman’s England in the final of the Women’s World Cup
Spain booked their place in the Women’s World Cup final after a 2-1 win over Sweden last week
‘After the year we have had, if all this has had to happen for us to be here in a World Cup final, we value it as positive.’
During the tournament, the Spain coach has notably been snubbed by several players, with Alexia Putellas swatting away the hand of her Spain coach after she was substituted during their semi-final against Sweden. Vilda was also seen cutting an awkward figure as he stood next to his side while they took a team selfie.
While he stated he had not finalised his starting eleven to play against England the Spanish coach also admitted his side’s style of play would not change much from what we’ve already seen throughout the tournament.