The Uruguay coach insisted he did not see the striker’s altercation with Giorgio Chiellini and dismissed the incident, saying that there were more important things to focus on
Oscar Tabarez refused to comment on Luis Suarez’s alleged bite on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, dismissing its significance in light of Uruguay’s win.
La Celeste progressed to the knockout stages of the World Cup following a 1-0 victory in Natal with Diego Godin’s header enough to secure a vital three points in Group D.
However, the incident between Suarez and Chiellini – in which the Liverpool star appeared to bite the defender’s shoulder – has cast a shadow over the encounter, though Tabarez showed his evident frustration at the multiple questions he was asked on the matter.
“I want to see the pictures, I have not seen the incident and I think the referee did not see it,” the 67-year-old told a press conference.
“For me and for all Uruguayans there were more important things in this game. Perhaps [Suarez] made mistakes, however, it is the goal for some to write about him: you just have to focus on when he is on the field and play. Instead, there is a clear animosity towards this player.
“I do not want to comment. Suarez for us it is a very important player, even as a person for the whole group: we’ll see if that will be attacked, like I feel we are doing at this press conference, and we’ll see how to defend it.
“This is a World Cup, not a time for cheap morality.”
Uruguay are now looking to emulate their fourth-placed finish in the previous World Cup in South Africa and Tabarez spoke of his immense pride at still being in the competition.
“We tried to put in all the effort possible,” he continued.
“We changed our positioning on the field, trying to counter the strengths of Italy in the middle of the field and the game of [Andrea] Pirlo. Versatility is one of our virtues.
“When [Claudio] Marchisio was sent off, we tried to put more pressure on the Azzurri and we were lucky enough to win. Prior to the England game we never would have dreamed of qualifying.
“At the time of the goal I felt something pop in my chest. The Uruguayans never lose the feelings that we have as children, it is difficult to explain with words, but I felt the need to embrace anyone beside me the same time.”