Diego Costa backed by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque after goal drought

Diego Costa has scored just one goal in eight appearances for Spain.
Image: Diego Costa has scored just one goal in eight appearances for Spain

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has backed Diego Costa, despite seeing the Chelsea forward draw another blank in Saturday's European Qualifier against Slovakia.

Holders Spain leapfrogged their opponents at the top of Group C thanks to a 2-0 success in Oviedo but Costa again failed to find the net and has now scored just one goal in eight appearances since opting last year to play for La Roja instead of his native Brazil.

The 26-year-old - who has struck just once so far for Chelsea - did win a penalty, converted by Andres Iniesta after Jordi Alba's early header.

But he otherwise struggled to test Slovakia's well-drilled defence before making way for Paco Alcacer 15 minutes from time.

"Of course I would like him to score but he did some good work," Del Bosque told reporters at his post-match news conference.

"Against a team playing so defensively the player who has the most difficult job is the one in his position.

"He moved well, he kept the defenders busy. We have to be patient. A lot of the time when he gets the ball he has his back to goal."

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The Spain boss also defended Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique, who attracted whistles from sections of Spain's support - seemingly Real Madrid fans.

"I find it disgraceful that there are people who whistle a national team player," Del Bosque added. "Gerard played fantastically well today."

Spain travel to Skopje to play bottom side Macedonia in their next Qualifier on Tuesday, while Slovakia - also on 18 points but second due to an inferior head-to-head record - host Ukraine.

Follow Tuesday's European Qualifiers live on Sky Sports.

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