Spain defender Sergio Ramos admits it has hurt the national team to have come under fire from some supporters for recent setbacks when in the past five years La Roja have enjoyed a period of record-breaking success.
The Spanish went into last night's crunch FIFA World Cup™ qualifier with France lying two points below Les Bleus in Group I after being held to a surprise 1-1 draw at home by Finland on Friday night.
That was the second successive qualifier Vicente del Bosque's men have been held at home, having also conceded a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with France in October, and led to questions marks being raised against the national team.
However, the Spanish answered the doom-mongers last night with a 1-0 victory in Paris which puts them back on top of Group I and on course for an automatic qualifying berth for next year's FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
Speaking after the match, Real Madrid defender Ramos, who has been a key member of the Spain squad that has won back-to-back European Championships and the World Cup since 2008, told reporters: "We respect the critics, but it hurts that a section of the fans criticise you after all that we've done. We are very pleased with this game. We were in a delicate situation and we've been able to react."
Barcelona forward Pedro scored the only goal of the game in the 58th minute while France finished with ten men following Paul Pogba's dismissal with 12 minutes to go. Pedro said: "It was important to win, we've managed it and I'm very happy. We couldn't slip-up."