SANTIAGO: Chile defender Jose Rojas has brushed off criticism of his semi-final display against Peru on Wednesday and called on fans to get behind the team as they attempt to beat Argentina and win their first Copa America.
Rojas replaced Gonzalo Jara — who has been banned for two games after the notorious finger-up-the-backside incident with Uruguay`s Edinson Cavani — at the heart of Chile`s defence as they scraped to a 2-1 win against Peru on Monday.
Universidad de Chile player Rojas looked shaky against Peru`s powerful Paolo Guerrero and was the subject of jokes in his homeland.
“Playing against one of the best forwards in the Copa (Guerrero) is not easy given that I hadn`t had a lot of game time,” Rojas told reporters on Wednesday.
“I think in that sense one always has to be open to constructive criticism.”
Rojas called on his compatriots to support their side as they attempt to win the world`s oldest international football tournament for the first time in Saturday`s final in Santiago.
“It`s been 28 years since we`ve really played in a final (at the 1987 Copa America), and today is when we should be united as a nation,” the 32-year-old added.
“Nothing is impossible. You have to keep writing history. Our squad is very united, very strong.”
Rojas and his team mates watched opponents Argentina destroy Paraguay 6-1 in the other semi-final on Tuesday but said they will not be overawed by the prospect of facing the likes of Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero.
“We are not afraid,” said defender Eugenio Mena. “We will do what we always do — go out to take on whoever we are up against.
“These are the two teams who have played the best football, they deserve to be in the final. This time it is our turn to win.”