Newly-appointed Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda has called for maturity and respect among his players as he attempts to revive La Roja’s fortunes following their failure to qualify for this year’s football World Cup.
The 60-year-old Colombian faced the media on Friday for the first time since quitting Brazil’s Flamengo on January 8 to take charge of Chile’s national team, reports Xinhua news agency.
The reigning Copa America champions had been without a coach since October when Juan Antonio Pizzi departed after the team’s dismal World Cup qualifying campaign.
Reports in Chile’s media have claimed that several national squad members fell out last year after at least one player turned up to training drunk.
Rueda was quick to play down concerns of any lingering animosity among his players.
“That’s now in the past,” he said. “They have to show maturity and what is said off the pitch doesn’t matter on it.”
When asked about his thoughts of players training while inebriated, Rueda replied: “I ask the players to respect the national team. And those who don’t, bad luck.”
The former coach of the Colombia, Ecuador and Honduras national teams is contracted with Chile for four years with the option of an extension if both parties agree.
Rueda said he had two main goals in mind: winning the 2019 Copa America in Brazil and qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
He plans to travel to Europe and Mexico in the coming weeks to visit some of Chile’s players ahead of March friendlies against Sweden and Denmark.