Tite says Neymar’s apparent emotional fragility is of no concern to Brazil as they prepare for a crunch World Cup encounter against Serbia.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker burst into tears at the end of Friday’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica, after he and Philippe Coutinho had netted in second-half stoppage time to avoid what would have been a damaging draw.
Brazil head into Wednesday’s clash with Serbia as Group E leaders, needing a point to be sure of a place in the last 16.
But Tite says such displays of emotion are customary, and revealed how he was in a similar state following his first match in charge, against Ecuador in September 2016.
“I’d like to say to the whole Brazilian nation, after Ecuador, Tite cried,” the head coach told a news conference. “I was happy, I was satisfied, that’s our emotional character.
“I cried of pride and pleasure in a moment of such great pressure to play a great match. I am careful of assessing the situation, I’m just showing the other side but a coach also has feelings and reasons and emotions have to be balanced.
“There are moments when you have to have a cool head and keep a standard. I mean in the 91st minute you score a goal in the way the team is used to playing.
“The pressure was quite high so especially in the second half in this emotional aspect I was very happy about it because it is a lot of responsibility that we’re aware of because if we don’t win it’s worse but if we win it’s a strong idea of football and you don’t give up on that idea.
“You use the heart, head, reason and feeling without losing your senses and there’s emotion that the coach also felt.”
Fotos: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF pic.twitter.com/HM67agL3S9
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) 25 June 2018
Tite, who will stick with the same starting XI that faced Costa Rica, also expressed his belief that Neymar would need one more game to get up to full speed, having only recently returned from a broken metatarsal suffered in February.
“Neymar is in this recovery stage because he’s a very gifted player,” Tite said. “I’m not here to defend anyone and when he did well versus Croatia [in a friendly] I was like ‘calm down, it’s an evolution’. It’s normal.
“If you look at the game against Switzerland, you take the heat map of Neymar on the flank and then more inside, he’s increased considerably.
“Maybe we need one more match then he’ll be in full form physically and technically. He’s outside the normal standards but there is an exceptional responsibility but that’s not the way to go and the coach won’t do that.
“Each of us has our responsibility and we shouldn’t place it all on his shoulders, but the whole group can do it.”
Against Costa Rica, Neymar went down in exaggerated fashion to win a penalty – a decision that was subsequently overturned by VAR. Former Real Madrid, Juventus and England manager Fabio Capello was among those to criticise the PSG forward, accusing him of diving, and Tite issued a response to the Italian.
Looking straight down the camera and addressing Capello directly, Tite said: “As a coach, Capello, this is for you. From coach to coach, that was a penalty. Ok, that’s all.”
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