‘Chile coach changeover not traumatic’

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Santiago, May 19 (IANS) Chile midfielder Marcelo Diaz has assured that the change of guard from the successful era of coach Jorge Sampaoli to the newly-appointed Juan Antonio Pizzi has not been “traumatic”.

“It has been quite good. The fact that he (Pizzi) went to visit almost all of us at our clubs was a good precedent which gave us confidence and we thank him for it,” said Diaz during a news conference on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

In terms of making a comparison between the two coaches, the Celta de Vigo (Spain) said that “each one of them has their own style, tactics and working standards but up until the change from Sampaoli to Pizzi hasn’t been very traumatic.”

Pizzi, former coach of Valencia (Spain) and San Lorenzo (Argentina), replaced Sampaoli, who left the club amid a corruption scandal that shook local football leaders. Sampaoli guided Chile to the title Copa America last year, the country’s first major football trophy.

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Chile’s new coach arrived from Europe after travelling around the Chilean players clubs’ abroad to get to know each team member.

“We are well on our way and we hope to keep what was achieved with Sampaoli although we have the weapons to reach the objectives,” added Diaz.

The midfielder also spoke about Jorge Valdivia’s absence in the 2016 Centennial Copa America shortlist.

“One has to accept the coach’s decision and in the national team, no one’s place is safe but we all know how incredible Jorge is and we hope that he returns to the team at some point,” said Diaz.

“Nobody comes close to him and if it was up to him, he would be here tomorrow but it is up to the coaching staff.”

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