Former Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez defended Luis Diaz after the Liverpool star missed a penalty in Colombia's 0-0 draw with Ecuador.
The goalless affair in Quito on Wednesday morning rounded off a disappointing international break for the Colombians, who also drew 2-2 with Uruguay – conceding a stoppage equaliser from a Darwin Nuñez spot kick.
Diaz got the chance for his own penalty glory against Ecuador, after being brought down in the box. However, Liverpool's number seven failed to convert and the game ended a stalemate.
The winger has just one goal for his country in 2023 and has come in for criticism from some for his national team performances.
Former Newcastle and Colombia striker Faustino Asprilla even somewhat bizarrely claimed that 'anxiety' is affecting Diaz's instincts.
He told ESPN after the draw with Uruguay: “Luis Díaz’s anxiety is eating him up, he looks anxious. He did everything right for the finish, but at the moment of impact he raised it, normally in Liverpool that is a goal.
“Also, in other moments he could calmly do other things to finish better, but anxiety had him shooting earlier. He dribbled when he didn’t have to dribble and that in football is fundamental, that can be seen in every game, when you are not sharp in finishing it is impossible to score goals.”
Speaking after the Ecuador game, Diaz's teammate Sanchez came out in support of his teammate, insisting the former Porto star doesn't need to hide after fluffing his penalty.
“There is no need to hide anything,” Sanchez said, via Sport Witness. “Lucho has been doing very important things in England, I suffered a lot when I was at Tottenham, but one way or another it is to take away that pressure that has indirectly been put on him.
“He is a decisive player for us, but we want him to go back to being that Luis Diaz with freedom, with the desire as he does there in Liverpool.
“The idea was that he could score and take off that pressure a little bit. And, although unfortunately that did not come, we will continue working to ensure that he continues to be decisive.”