Spain head coach Fernando Hierro admitted that the ambition of the team was not achieved following their exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Hierro, who stepped in after Julen Lopetugi was sacked on the eve of the tournament, watched as his side lost 4-3 on penalties to hosts Russia in the round of 16 clash.
Spain recorded one win, and drew twice in the group stages before losing to Russia on Sunday.
“We came here with ambition and we empathize with our people, those that came all the way to Russia,” Hierro said during his post-match press conference on his side’s elimination from the tournament.
“I don’t think you can talk about the team breaking down or collapsing. There’s a fine line between winning and losing.”
He also praised the now retired Andreas Iniesta for his outstanding work ethic while playing for the national team.
Iniesta announced his retirement from international football following the exit of Spain from the tournament.
“I give my whole hearted recognition to one of the greatest players of our history. He’s an outstanding professional,” Real Madrid great Hierro said of the Barcelona legend.
“The way he played on the pitch when he substituted on was like he was playing in his first cap and I want to thank him whole-heartedly.”
Hierro also described his tenure as Spain manager as “a pleasure” but stresses that he does not know whether he will take the role permanently as it is not his decision.
“We all feel pain, we came to do something important, fight for the World Cup, but that’s football,” Hierro added.
“It’s nothing to do with their commitment, companionship and effort they put in every day.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach them. If there’s anything to criticise us for, I’m the coach and I’m the one most responsible for what’s happened.
“My future? It’s not my decision whether I stay. After this elimination, what I do doesn’t matter.”
Spain won the World Cup in 2010 but were knocked out at the first hurdle four years later.