Santiago, March 23 (IANS) Chile’s new head coach promised on Friday that his side will play an attractive yet disciplined brand of football during his tenure, which will kick off on Saturday with a friendly versus World Cup-bound Sweden in Stockholm.
“This Chilean side will go out and play attractive and disciplined football. We’re going to preserve the eye-pleasing soccer that’s in our DNA. We’re going to accentuate the Chilean players’ great virtues,” Colombian Reinaldo Rueda said, reports Efe.
He said he had not supervised many training sessions yet and that it was still too soon to say what sort of mark he would leave on the team, but he added that he was impressed with the culture in place at the national squad.
“There are concepts, there’s a DNA, work put in over many years. It’s important to recognise what (Marcelo) Bielsa, (Jorge) Sampaoli, (Claudio) Borghi and (Juan Antonio) Pizzi have done. Great work has been done and international respect” has been achieved, he said, referring to the four Argentine managers who preceded him.
The 60-year-old Rueda took the reins of La Roja in January after the team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, signing a deal that will run through the 2022 World Cup.
Asked about the absence of goalkeeper and captain Claudio Bravo for friendlies versus Sweden and Denmark on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, Rueda said he respected the Manchester City net minder’s decision.
“It’s a decision Claudio made, very respectable. It’s not something positive. We had hoped to count on him because of all that he means. He’s a mature man, with great character. We insisted right up to the last minute. He made the decision to stay away,” Rueda said.
That decision comes amid the net minder’s spat with the directors of Chile’s ANFP professional soccer association, which refused to appoint the goalkeeping coach that Bravo had requested.
Rueda also referred to Alexis Sanchez’s slow start at Manchester United, saying the star striker’s move from Arsenal had been a “difficult transition” but that that did not take away from the player’s strong character.
He said Sanchez initially considered sitting out the friendlies in Stockholm and Aalborg, Denmark, but that his passion for the national side made him opt to join his teammates.
Unlike Chile, Sweden and Denmark have qualified for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Sweden has been drawn into Group F along with Germany, Mexico and South Korea, while Denmark is in Group C with France, Australia and Peru.