MONTEVIDEO • Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has complimented Luis Suarez on his maturity ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Peru this morning (Singapore time).
Tabarez gave Suarez the captain's armband for Uruguay's Russia 2018 qualifier against Brazil on Friday and the Barcelona forward repaid his faith by scoring the equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
The fixture in Recife was Suarez's first international appearance for almost two years after serving a nine-match ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.
"He is a much more mature player. The captaincy hasn't changed him," Tabarez told a press conference on Monday.
Suarez helped Barcelona to the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble last season - his first at the Nou Camp.
The former Liverpool and Ajax forward has lifted his game to another level this term with 43 goals from 42 matches for the Catalan club.
"He is aware of the things that have happened to him, of his importance to the team and of the fact that opponents are going to make it increasingly difficult for him," Tabarez said.
Uruguay are currently second in the South American zone World Cup qualifying standings with 10 points, three points behind leaders Ecuador. Peru are eighth with four points.
"We respect Peru a lot and we are going to work as hard as we can to weaken their strong points," Tabarez said.
"We believe that we are going to come up against a Peru team at the top of their game. If that's not the case, great."