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Bravo, Claudio! Man City's beleaguered keeper gets backing from Chile boss Pizzi

3:30 PM EDT 3/14/17
ClaudioBravo - Cropped
He may have fallen out of favour with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, but the South American remains the undisputed number one for his country

Claudio Bravo may have lost his spot as Manchester City's number-one goalkeeper, but his importance to Chile is "undisputed" according to national team boss Juan Antonio Pizzi.

Bravo has attracted his fair share of criticism for a number of below-par performances under Pep Guardiola, and has not featured in the Premier League since January 21.

But he is expected to take his place as Chile's number one for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Venezuela, with Pizzi lending his support to the goalkeeper in Tuesday's media conference.

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"I had the opportunity to go to see a match and I was pleasantly surprised by the level of Claudio," Pizzi said.

"He is at a very high level. I spoke with people from the club and they value him just like me.

"For his career, he is an undisputed player. I am happy and calm with Claudio."

Pizzi's squad is missing Marcelo Diaz, who will miss four to five weeks with a knee ligament injury, while Arturo Vidal is suspended for the crunch meeting with Argentina in Buenos Aires on March 23.

With six matches left, Chile occupy the fourth and final automatic qualification spot, one point ahead of Argentina in fifth - a position that would send La Albiceleste into an inter-continental play-off.

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"Both [Vidal and Diaz] are very important players for us, but we have the options to be able to replace them," Pizzi said.

"On more than one occasion we had to play without a key man. Against Argentina [a 2-1 defeat in March 2016], Marcelo had to leave after 20 minutes. The set of players we have can replace any individuality."