Vicente Del Bosque has launched a passionate defence of his decision to launch Spain's Euro 2012 campaign without a striker.
The Spain manager fielded Cesc Fabregas in an attacking role in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Italy, but effectively played with six midfielders as big names Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente started on the bench.
Fabregas scored, but the debate over Del Bosque's tactics has rumbled on to the clear irritation of the 61-year-old.
He said: "We trust all of our three strikers. All of them can play and we know all of them will do everything for the team.
"We have used Llorente - he helped us to become champions and he is a different player.
"We played in Brussels with one forward and we put another forward on instead of Fabregas. Sometimes, it's a question of football.
"We are really confident about our strikers - that's why we brought them here.
"But we have played just one match and we could use all of them. You can only make three substitutions, so everybody can't play.
"If we could have played with 13 players, it would have been different."
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni believes Del Bosque will not adopt the same plan on Thursday night and is anticipating seeing Torres' name on the team-sheet.
But his Spanish counterpart was giving nothing away at his pre-match press conference in Gdansk on Thursday evening.
He said with a smile: "He [Trapattoni] knows the Spanish team and he knows football. It's just another opinion."
If Torres does get the nod, his manager is confident the experience of starting on the bench at the weekend and squandering a golden opportunity to score after being sent on, will not have an adverse effect.
Del Bosque said: "Ten players, including two goalkeepers, who didn't play.
"Some of them can't play, and that's what hurts me the most."
Should Trapattoni's prediction prove incorrect and Fabregas has a chance to reprise his 'false nine' role, the Barcelona midfielder will be happy to do so.
His goal against the Italians was his first since February, and he admitted it has boosted his confidence as he attempts to established himself as a regular in the national team.
The 25-year-old said: "The truth is I haven't played that often, but I have been with the national team for seven years and I have never stopped thinking that my moment would come.
"I have always been excited to play, even for 10 or 20 minutes, and now it's fantastic that I'm starting to get into the starting XI.
"I hope that will continue for some time. I think I'm at the ideal age to take responsibility for the team, and I hope to continue to have the chance to prove myself."
As reigning world and European champions, Spain arrived at the tournament once again having been installed among the favourites to win it, and that creates its own pressure.
However, Fabregas is confident that will not become a burden with seven members of the squad playing their club football at Barcelona and five more at Real Madrid.
He said: "We are used to the pressure because it is the same with the national team as it is with our clubs. We play for big clubs.
"We have to be aware that we are playing against great opponents and we have to respect them, we have to respect their players.
"Italy are a great team and now we have to play against Ireland and Croatia. We have to go step by step, we have to be aware that our opponents do things well, and we will try to respond in the best way we can."