Pressure is on us, says Uruguay boss Tabarez
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez admitted Saturday the pressure is on the South American champions ahead of their winner takes all clash with Italy on Tuesday.
Uruguay must win the Group D match in Natal or face World Cup elimination while a draw would suffice for Italy to reach the last 16.
"Obviously we`re going to be under pressure because, of the three possible results (a win, draw and defeat), only one is useful to us, but we won`t play desperately," said Tabarez from the team`s hotel in Sete Lagoas.
"I have a group who are used to resisting pressure and who react to it in a good way.
"The pressure was worse against England, or do you think that we`d gone shopping?"
Tabarez is well acquainted with Italian football having coached AC Milan, although only briefly and unsuccessfully, and Cagliari, over two spells, in the 1990s.
That was at the height of Italian catenaccio, or bolt-lock -- the ultra-defensive system that Azzurri teams, both at club and international level, used with great effectiveness for decades.
But Tabarez -- who is in his third World Cup finals with Uruguay having guided them in his first spell in charge to the 1990 finals and then in his second term to the 2010 semi-finals -- insists his team won`t come up against an exercise of attack versus defence in Natal.
"It depends on us, winning (but) it`s over the top to expect Italy to be defending while we attack.
"They`ve been world champions four times and we have a lot of respect for them.
"It will be a tough challenge for us but I believe we`ll have our chances."
It`s not just Tabarez who knows Italian football, he also has five players in his squad plying their trade in Italy, while several others have previously graced Serie A.
But 67-year-old "El Maestro" says that won`t make a huge difference.
"It`s true that we might have better knowledge of certain details than for example against Costa Rica, where none of our players play, but in Italy they also know Uruguayan footballers."