Carlos Queiroz, coach of the Colombian national team, spoke before the trip to Quito, where he will face Ecuador on Tuesday World Cup qualifiers in Qatar 2022.
How to raise the team. It was a difficult moment, the biggest critics of the game are us, the coaches, the players, we like to put our face in a situation that is not good for Colombia’s results. But this is part of our life, getting back on the bus, getting back on the pitch, winning again, we’ve been doing it since we were kids and nothing changes. Sometimes nothing goes right, like against Uruguay. But here you can feel the caste of our players, they have the caste of the winners. They rested, they recovered and we are ready, we have to go out with all the will and do what we know how to do, which is to play football well. Ecuador has a good coach, good players. We are ready, we had to lose, but this will make us stronger.
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The changes the team could have. We have beliefs like all great teams, and great teams have their own plans and ideas. When we win we must recognize that not everything has been done well, but when we lose we must also know that not everything is wrong. We can lose the games, but not the beliefs, the ideas we have. We already experienced at the time, all games have their own story. Ecuador is a different story, different players, we are already playing against Ecuador and we will make the adjustments that we believe necessary to play well and win the game, but we will not change our beliefs, we will not change all things, mainly the things that we are sure are fine.
The vision of Ecuador. Ecuador are playing well, scoring goals in every game. We already play against them and know what their weaknesses and strengths are. He has a new manager who is changing some things and we know everything there is to know, but the most important thing is that we respect Ecuador very much, they are very tactical and very powerful players. With our skill and discipline, we are able to know that the most important thing for qualification is to score points. Against Ecuador there is only one thing in mind: to score points.
The altitude. We take care of all the details with the technical staff, in the preparation, in the recovery, but above all the altitude, we are not thinking about the altitude, we are thinking about playing well, attacking well, so that in 90 minutes we have the possibility to be better than Ecuador. This is what is possible, both Argentina and Brazil. Today we are at high altitude, tomorrow at sea level, which is part of the race, without comments, without crying or with pity, because it is not like that. We know we can play the game well.
The critics. The attitude of Colombian players, at least from what I know, we do not have the folkloric arrogance to believe that everything is fine, but when we lose we must be humble to accept criticism that is correct, that is, honest. We don’t need anyone to talk about the comments or criticisms we make of our work. We are the first to pay attention to things. We must have a winning team, eager, that scores goals, that defends well. Many people have criticized Colombia’s consistency, the result of our work.
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The complaint by arbitration. I know that with what I will do I will open the door to perverse comments, which is an excuse, but I must be very clear: how is it possible that the referee does not award Lucho a penalty in the 35th minute. We didn’t do well.We grew up, we ended the first half dominating the ball, having more ball possession, even if that doesn’t win games, but 70 percent possession shows the dominance and control of our players. This is a game of mistakes and a game of opinion. But there are mistakes that we don’t accept: I have to go out to defend the players’ work, without fear, with all my heart. Don’t call that penalty when that referee is four meters away, it’s criminal. I can’t find any other words for the outrage I have. And then he gives a dubious penalty at 40 meters. There he sees it clearly and not at 4 meters. This man, who is an international referee, must justify it. This changes the whole game. This is not an excuse, it is a warning for the Colombian football authorities: it is our job, our players, our fans. Here the press was not indignant. I’m here to get the bullets for them. I respond with this indignation.
Because you didn’t work in Bogotá. I work with the technical staff, they are experienced people in the field and I also have some experience. The problem of attitude is related to recovery times. It is something we can win in some things and lose in others. To get to Quito we thought it was better to recover without travel, without logistical interruptions. That is why today we will travel later, with experience and knowledge of other situations, thinking it is the best decision. You must also remember that there are health problems, we must be locked up in bubbles and a change in the hotel could lead to risky situations, we must make decisions and we believe that this is the most appropriate.
The preparation. It didn’t take me long to learn it: this is the toughest qualification in the world, the results are uncertain, we have won and we are ahead, we have drawn and we are a bit lower. We are all very close. The preparation is very determined, with great conviction of the talent and character of the players, we are confident in a result in the points, which is very important. It is interesting that by talking to Mr. Tabárez after the game, we exchange views on the difficulties we are experiencing. He lost Valverde. Colombia loses Yairo Moreno, Arias, Stefan, Falcao, Borré, Córdoba, Sinisterra, Villa. All the work we have carried out in a year and a half, in two months Sinisterra, Villa, Borré, Córdoba, Falcao, Stefan, Yairo, Arias, is a different world. I understand some people who can telework, but for us it’s different, it’s a different world. The Colombia manager never came with regrets. The job is not to convey concerns to the fans, but to respond with solutions and tomorrow we will find more solutions, it is a country with a lot of talent and a desire to move forward. We want to be among the best. Five minutes ago I discovered that Uruguay played against us with Viña, who came out contaminated. We need to have more tolerance and respect for people who want to have football alive, the enthusiasm of the fans, and we will do it with all determination and courage.
The possible formation. “The final decision is clear to me. We know how we should adapt. We did it before when we played against Ecuador in the US and it went very well. The most important thing is to hang out with Muriel, who is the one who scored the most. Goal, or Going out with Lucho, it all depends on the game plan. This is the dynamics of football. After 30 minutes we had to put all the meat on the grid to change the score. We weren’t happy to score. Once again I have to say that. ‘man (the referee) did not respect Colombia, the players, the fans. It is not possible that he did not sanction that penalty at 4 meters. He must not give me explanations, I have been in football for 40 years, but He does not see that penalty at four meters which is a pity and one at 40 meters, doubtful, that we consult and are divided. I think that the Federation of Colombia must do something, it is our dreams that are at stake and they must respect our work “.