The striker was painted as the villain of the 2010 World Cup after handballing on the line against Ghana, but the Sunderland boss says that is normal behaviour for Uruguayans
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has defended fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez from accusations that he is a cheat, but says he will do “whatever it takes” to beat England at the World Cup.
Suarez will line up for his country against the Three Lions on June 19 in Sao Paulo, if he recovers from the knee injury which required surgery at the end of May.
The Liverpool striker’s last World Cup campaign was shrouded in controversy after he was sent off for a handball on the line against Ghana in the quarter-finals of the tournament in South Africa in 2010.
But Poyet says Uruguayans do not consider such actions cheating, and warned that England will have to toughen up this summer: “In England, you thought he was the villain of the last World Cup because he handled the ball on the line in the last minute, but what I am about to say is very normal for me and I hope you take it well…
“I know that, for you, handball on the line is cheating, but it’s not for us – it’s part of the game.
“If I’m the last man and I pull your shirt as you go past me, you go down and I get sent off, is that cheating? No, it’s not – you take a red card as the last man. Fine. Our reaction is the same as Suarez’s handball.
“We don’t know what all the fuss was about. He saved it, he was sent off, it was a penalty. For us, it’s worse when you get away with something that nobody sees, like punching someone off the ball. Should Suarez say, ‘It was handball, send me off’? No, we don’t do that. Everyone saw it.
“Uruguay will do whatever it takes to beat England. If I accept you’re better than me, I lose. How can I?”
Poyet says there will be ways to stop Suarez, but insisted Roy Hodgson’s men are “too nice” and that Uruguay will put up more of a fight.
“Have England got anyone who can stop Suarez? You will need to pay extra attention because he is special,” he continued.
“Are you helping me here? Are you covering me? Are you stopping them from playing? Sticking to you a little bit, grabbing you, being stronger than you. Whatever it takes to win the game – yeah, we do that, and we are proud of it.
“I think that’s a way you win more than you lose. Do you want to win the game of football more than me? You’ve got no chance, because I will do more than you to win.
“England are too nice, they need to get tougher. I don’t think that’s the only reason, but it’s a different way of suffering in the game. Running, giving it your all, being good on the ball, accepting responsibility, be together, helping each other, sorting out problems, sort it out. You’re on the pitch.
“Everybody tries different ways to stop Lionel Messi – and the one who stops him has a great chance. I’m not saying you have to kill him, or shoot him, but under the rules of the game there are things you can do to stop a special player.”
The Sunderland boss, who made 26 international appearances between 1993 and 2000, also gave an insight into the Uruguayan psyche.
“You know the discussion going on all over the world that you cannot make kids of seven or eight play to win…? Well, in Uruguay you need to win at six.
“It is a way of living and learning. Players have to win games at a very early age.
“I tried to change that – I worked for two years as chairman of a big organisation governing children from five to 13 and I tried to convince them to slow down and not be so crazy about winning.
“What happened? Nothing – it is not in our culture.”