Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has defended his decision not to play Luis Suarez against Venezuela, saying the Barcelona star had yet to recover from his hamstring injury.
Suarez was named as injured on Uruguay’s team sheet as they suffered a 1-0 loss to Venezuela on Thursday, leaving them on the brink of elimination from the Copa America Centenario.
However, Suarez was in full playing gear and appeared on the Uruguay bench despite Tabarez ruling him out of action the day before.
Suarez caused even more confusion when he began to warm-up in the second half, with some unsure if he may have actually been eligible to play.
The Barca forward was left frustrated after Uruguay made their third substitution of the game, expressing his feelings towards the coaching staff.
But Tabarez defended the decision, insisting Suarez was not fit enough to take to the pitch at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
“There is no situation. The situation is what I told you [on Wednesday]. The player is not ready to play,” the 69-year-old said post-game.
“This is an issue about numbers and doctors. Even if the player is upset, I’m not going to play a player who is not 100 per cent.
“If he got upset, that is something I was not aware of. He didn’t tell me anything.”
He added: “Eighteen days ago he had a substantial tear. We want Suarez when he is healthy.
“Luis was training with us. Today he had a day off not to force more onto him. Maybe he wanted to move around a little bit. He knows the coach has the final word.”
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