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Luis Suarez backs embattled Uruguay boss Tabarez

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-11-10 10:06
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Uruguay's Luis Suarez reacts during World Cup qualifier match against Brazil at Arena da Amazonia, Manaus, Brazil, Oct 14, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

MONTEVIDEO - Uruguay striker Luis Suarez vehemently defended national team boss Oscar Tabarez on Tuesday amid speculation about the veteran manager's future.

According to local media, Uruguayan Football Association officials discussed the possibility of sacking Tabarez after the Celeste suffered successive defeats to Argentina and Brazil in World Cup qualifiers last month.

"Pressure on coaches always exists, and even more so in the national team, but it is necessary to remember everything that El Maestro [Tabarez] has done and the difficult task he's undertaken to build this process," Suarez said.

The Atletico Madrid striker was speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Uruguay's Carrasco international airport for a crucial double-header of 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The Celeste will meet Argentina in Montevideo on Friday before facing Bolivia in La Paz next Tuesday. They must win both matches to stay on course for a fourth successive World Cup berth.

The Celeste are currently fifth in the 10-team South American group with six qualifiers remaining. The top four teams will automatically qualify for football's showpiece tournament in Qatar while the fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff, to be played over two legs.

Suarez, who has scored 65 goals in 126 matches for Uruguay, accused Tabarez's critics of having short memories.

"When I broke into the national team in 2007, Uruguay had missed out on qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. In 2002, we only made it after winning the playoff and I don't know when we qualified before that," the 34-year-old said.

"Today we are in a situation in which we went to the last three World Cups. You have to look on the bright side. In the previous qualifiers, we secured our spot in advance and that's why I say that people got a little bit spoiled."

Tabarez has been in charge of Uruguay since March 2006 and steered the Celeste to the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they were eliminated by eventual champions France. He also coached the national team from 1988 to 1990.

In total, the 74-year-old has guided Uruguay to four World Cups during his two spells as coach: Italy in 2010, South Africa in 2010, Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018.

Suarez's Atletico Madrid teammate Jose Maria Gimenez also leapt to the defense of Tabarez on Tuesday.

"Football has no memory," the central defender told reporters. "People know what the national team's players think of El Maestro. He is a father in the career of 99.9% of the players."

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