Alvaro Pereira believes Uruguay are preparing well for a Copa America campaign in which they will be without suspended striker Luis Suarez.
The Barcelona man was handed a nine-match international suspension for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup and, as such, will miss the South American showpiece in Chile next year.
With Oscar Tabarez's men set to defend the title Uruguay won in Argentina three years ago, Pereira feels the squad are preparing well to feature without Suarez.
"The suspension of Luis Suarez is not totally defined yet, we still have hopes that it will be reduced and he will be able to take part in the Copa America," Pereira told Perform.
"We are optimistic, also, because of the feelings he transmits as a person but we must be aware in case we cannot count on him for this competition.
"We are doing so by bringing young players of a similar profile to those who left the national team."
Suarez's bite on Chiellini - the third such incident of the striker's career - came during a World Cup where Uruguay made the knockout stages before bowing out to Colombia.
However, Pereira, on loan at Sao Paulo from Inter, is eager not to dwell on what might have been and insisted the national side are in good shape going into next year's Copa.
"The group was affected by what happened but I don't what to put it as an excuse because we don't know - if Luis was on the pitch against Colombia maybe we would have still lost," he continued.
"They played a very smart game. They hit when they had to and this feeling of sadness remained because after wins against England and Italy, people spoke more about what happened with Suarez.
"It hurt us a lot because this shrunk our victories. Also, Luis didn't deserve that. But we gave everything for our country."
Turning his attention to Chile, Pereira believes a mix of team spirit and the experience of wily coach Oscar Tabarez will stand Uruguay in good stead.
"We are very united from the number one to the 23," he added. "The doctors, the chef or any member of the staff are important.
"We stick together when winning and losing. That's the beauty of our unity.
"Obviously the maestro [Tabarez] has gained international respect from some time ago but it is the players who have the obligation to reach the objectives and to process his message on the pitch.
"That's why we must communicate with the new players so they can adapt quickly to what the maestro asks."comments