Poyet: Suarez handball 'not cheating'

ByPA Sport ESPN logo
Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gus Poyet has told England's players they are "too nice" and warned Uruguay will try all the tricks in the book to come out on top of Group D at the World Cup.

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England's match against the South American outfit is their second in the group and the contest is likely to prove pivotal in deciding who progresses to the knockout stage in Brazil.

Poyet, who earned 26 caps for Uruguay as a player, admits his countrymen will do whatever it takes to get the right result against Roy Hodgson's side on June 19.

''Whatever it is, to stop you, to win the game, we do that and we are proud of that," the Sunderland manager said.

"We will play that game. We won't accept that you are better than us. I won't accept that you are better than me.

''If you're better than me, I will find a way to stop you -- I'm not going to accept you're better than me because if I do, I lose.

"I think that's a way you win more than you lose -- if you just play the game and if you are worse you lose, then you don't want to win more than me."

Uruguay's star player Luis Suarez was at the centre of controversy at the 2010 World Cup when he deliberately prevented a goal with a handball on the line in the last minute of extra time in the quarterfinal against Ghana.

Suarez was sent off, but the resulting penalty was missed and Uruguay prevailed in the shootout to reach the semifinals.

Poyet says English football needs to get tough and believes Suarez did nothing wrong four years ago. "Are England too nice? Yes, without a doubt," he said.

"I know that for you a handball on the goal-line is cheating. It's not for us -- it's part of the game.

"If I'm the last man and you're running and I pull your shirt and you go down and I get sent off -- is that cheating? No, it's not cheating.

"I know it was massive in England but that's a surprise for us -- he saved it, he was sent off, it was a penalty.

"It's worse for us when you do something that no-one sees, like punching someone, but a handball on the goal-line is a handball on the goal-line."

Suarez faces a race against time to get fit for the tournament in Brazil having undergone a minor knee operation on May 22.

The Liverpool striker scored 31 Premier League goals in 2013-14 and was named both the Professional Footballers' Association and Football Writers' Association player of the year.

Poyet has spoken to Suarez in the build-up to the competition and says the forward is determined to prove himself in Brazil as one of the best players in the world.

"He will try to be one of the top players - that is the aim of Luis,'' the former midfielder said. "He will go there now and say 'I am one of the best in the world'. He will try.

"You need to pay extra attention, because he's special. For me, I changed the Sunderland system once this season -- only because of Luis and Daniel Sturridge.''

Poyet continued: "You need to look after Luis in a different way because if you leave him one against one, defenders don't know if the ball is going to go past them.

"He's a special player."

The Three Lions' opener against Italy will be played in Manaus, where temperatures regularly exceed 30 degrees Celsius and humidity can reach up to 90 percent -- and Poyet does not believe England can change their style in the time available to adapt to their opponents or the conditions.

"England cannot invent [a new style of play] -- I don't think they are going to surprise me," the Black Cats boss added.

"I think the players need to adapt to what they are going to do and play the game, but it will be an incredible achievement to change in just three weeks."