Salvador, June 20: Ecuador cannot blame coach Hernan Dario Gomez for their current crisis, according to Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) president Francisco Egas.
Gomez's side head into their Copa America clash with Chile on the back of a humbling 4-0 defeat to Uruguay in their opening Group C match.
Ecuador are now without a win in their past five matches under Gomez, who took charge for his second spell in August 2018.
Two-time defending champions Chile, meanwhile, started their campaign in style, cruising to an emphatic 4-0 victory over Japan.
But FEF boss Egas has defended Gomez, insisting that pinning the blame on the coach would only be ignoring the wider issues that Ecuador currently face.
"We are not understanding the reality of our football and that is not the fault of one or two people," Egas told Ecuadorian radio station La Radio Redonda.
"If we believe that the crisis of the national team is the product of one person, we make a mistake already.
"Today, we are paying for things that have not been done well for several years."
While he defended Gomez, Egas did not confirm whether the 63-year-old would remain in charge beyond Ecuador's Copa America campaign.
"It is not responsible to talk about this issue in the middle of the Copa America." Egas continued. "In a tournament it is our responsibility to give the national team all the support we can give them."
Ecuador defeated Chile 3-0 the last time they met at a neutral venue in a 2012 friendly.
La Roja coach Reinaldo Rueda was in charge of Ecuador at the time, and goalkeeper Brayan Cortes has lauded the squad's unity under the Colombian.
"The confidence that Rueda gives you, for me it is nice," Cortes told ADN 91.7.
"There was much talk that the process we had was not good, but we are prepared. We've always had the mentality to keep improving. We are confident with him."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ecuador - Enner Valencia
Former West Ham and Everton forward Enner Valencia toiled to no avail against Uruguay, but has scored seven of Ecuador's last 14 goals in all competitions. However, all were in international friendlies.
Chile - Eduardo Vargas
With his two goals against Japan in the first game, Eduardo Vargas took his tally of Copa America goals to 12, surpassing Paolo Guerrero as the top active scorer in the tournament, and the forward will be keen to extend his record.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Chile have won 12 of their 14 Copa America games against Ecuador, failing to win in 1957 (2-2) and 1997 (1-2). - Ecuador are winless in their previous 12 Copa America games against South American teams since they beat Venezuela 4-0 in 2001. - Ecuador have conceded seven goals in their past two games in all competitions (2-3 vs. Mexico and 0-4 vs. Uruguay). It had not happened to them since November 2007 (0-5 v Brazil and 1-5 v Paraguay). - Along with Uruguay, Chile had the joint-most shots on target on the first match day of the Copa America.