Spain boss Luis Enrique has come out in support of goalkeeper David De Gea following recent criticism.
The Manchester United No. 1, who has conceded six goals in the previous two games, was rested on Sunday with Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga instead starting against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
De Gea has faced continuous criticism since committing a blunder in Spain's draw with Portugal at the World Cup, with the goalkeeper having reportedly saved only 45.8 percent of the shots on target he has come up against when defending Spain's goal since this summer's tournament.
"It's unfair in a collective sport to point out an individual," Luis Enrique said. "But for some time now in our country, they [fans and media] have charged against David De Gea.
"It [criticism] will make him stronger and make us all stronger because it has to hurt when a teammate is criticised and because even if it's not you [the one being criticised], things turn quickly and you will be in the same position at some point in your career. But players of this level are accustomed to these analyses and evaluation and we have to accept them because it's our profession."
45.8% - Since the 2018 World Cup, David de Gea has only saved 45.8% of the shots on target he has faced for Spain 🇪🇸 (11 from 24, excluding penalty shoot-outs). Discussion. pic.twitter.com/MUXQqDF5Yd— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 17, 2018
Meanwhile, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has backed Luis Enrique despite their failure to qualify for the UEFA Nations League semifinals.
La Roja lost their last two qualifying games to finish second in Group A4, one point adrift of England, who progressed to the next round after a 2-1 win over Croatia.
"We would have loved to have played in the final four but we depended on others and England have done their job," Rubiales said after Spain's 1-0 friendly win over Bosnia on Sunday, their last game of 2018. "We avoided relegation which is also important."
Only 11 players that were in Spain's World Cup squad made Luis Enrique's latest list and the RFEF chief has said he accepts this is a period of transition.
"There's the obvious inclusion of a new generation," Rubiales said. "There's a team under construction. We will go step by step and put our faith in this group of players.
"The coach has all of our confidence to continue to bring [young] players to the national team, all that he does, he will have our maximum backing and we are delighted with him."
Luis Enrique, who took over the national team following their round of 16 shootout defeat to hosts Russia at the World Cup, enjoyed a strong start in the Nations League with a 2-1 win at England and a 6-0 rout of Croatia.
However, Spain were then beaten 3-2 at home to England on before losing by the same scoreline at Croatia one month later, but Luis Enrique stressed the positives after coming up short of the semifinals.
"Considering the group that we had, which was one of the most difficult, I make a positive assessment," the former Barcelona boss told TVE. "Bad luck and a few mistakes that we have made have left us out of the final four.
"I think we gave a good image. It would have been nice to have been there [in the semifinals] but now we must focus on the Euro 2020 qualifiers."
The draw for Euro 2020 qualifiers will take place on Dec. 2 in Dublin.