Chile coach Claudio Borghi brushed off his side's latest bout of indiscipline by steering them to a 2-0 win over Venezuela to go top the South American World Cup qualifying group on Saturday.
Chile have strung together three wins, the last two away, to claim pole position in the regional pool for the first time ever. They have 12 points from six matches, two more than Argentina, who had a bye this week and have played a game less.
Argentine Borghi was upset that the media had focused more on incidents of indiscipline rather than matters on the pitch after two players broke a promise and stayed out late on a free day for the squad.
"We have virtues and defects but our work is serious. I imagine these things also happen in other national teams but maybe nothing is said about it," Borghi told a news conference after the match at Puerto La Cruz.
"In Chile, there is the habit of always looking for problems, which sometimes are true but which complicate (us) quite a bit."
On the field, Borghi's team have shown an application to his tactics and solidarity in their play that belies the internal strife caused by this week's incident and one involving five players, four of them still suspended, last November.
"I asked the players to enjoy the match, to do what they know how to do, play good football," Borghi said.
"We must appreciate that we're top but we're only in midstream and we must keep winning to get to the World Cup."
Chile played with patience against Venezuela, the most improved team in South America, and scored twice in the last five minutes, avenging their upset defeat by the same opponents in the 2011 Copa America quarter-finals.
Borghi's Paraguayan counterpart Francisco Arce had a far unhappier day, however, as his team lost 3-1 in Bolivia and they could end the weekend bottom of the nine-team group if Peru take at least a point from Uruguay on Sunday.
"I'm not such a coward as to resign," a defiant Arce was quoted as saying in the Asuncion daily Ultima Hora.
"We can't seem to put into practice our good (training) work, that's what worries me most," said Arce, who inherited former coach Gerardo Martino's World Cup quarter-finalists after the Copa America in Argentina.
(Editing by John O'Brien)