UEFA Euro 2012: We can cope without Puyol and Villa says Martinez

Updated: 06 June 2012 22:27 IST

Defending champions Spain can make up for the absence of key injured duo talismanic defender Carles Puyol and all-time record scorer David Villa at Euro 2012 said defender Javi Martinez on Wednesday.

Gniewino:

Defending champions Spain can make up for the absence of key injured duo talismanic defender Carles Puyol and all-time record scorer David Villa at Euro 2012 said defender Javi Martinez on Wednesday.

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The highly-rated 23-year-old Athletic Bilbao star - who was successfully transformed from a midfielder to a central defender by club coach Marcelo Bielsa last season - said the players in the squad were capable of doing so.

"It is true that they are two very important players, integral to our wins in both Euro 2008 and the World Cup," said Martinez, who was also part of the 2010 World Cup squad.

"But those who have been selected can do as well as they did, why not better. With the help of everybody, I think that their absence will not be noticed."

Martinez, who played a leading role in Spain winning the European Under-21 crown in 2011, said that adapting to central defence had not been a silky smooth transformation.

"Until the beginning of last season I had always played in midfield, either as the holding midfielder or in a more attacking role.

"But Marcelo Bielsa told me at the beginning of the season that he thought that I could play as well at the centre of defence.

"Therefore I did as I was told. I have to say that the beginning was a little tough, but nevertheless I took on the challenge and each day I feel I am getting better in that position. I am therefore able to help Bielsa or (Spain coach Vicente) Del Bosque in two different positions."

Martinez, who represented Spain at Under-17 and Under-19 level as well, conceded that losing in both the Europa League final - 3-0 to Atletico Madrid - and to Barcelona in the Spanish Cup final, also 3-0, had been a sad end to the season.

"It is true that two lost finals were very tough moments to endure," said Martinez.

"The days following them all of us at the club were seriously depressed.

"We didn't even want to go out. But football continues. And there is also the possibility of taking the positives out of these bad experiences.

"The task is to learn for the next time."

Topics : Football Barcelona Euro 2012 Alou Diarra Lech Poznan Arsenal Carles Puyol Saforcada Javier Martinez Aguinaga
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