Brazil head coach Tite said Vinicius Junior has to play well for Real Madrid if he is to be involved at the Copa America after the teenage sensation “missed an opportunity” during the international break.
Vinicius was set to make his Brazil debut before pulling out of friendlies against Panama and the Czech Republic due to an ankle injury.
Ajax star David Neres replaced the 18-year-old winger and impressed in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over the Czech Republic.
Vinicius may not return until early May and with the Copa America scheduled to get underway in June, Tite told reporters: “Vinicius missed an opportunity, he’s going to have to play very well in his club.
“Neres is going to have to continue playing very well, just as Richarlison entered a situation where Pedro was injured.”
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) March 26, 2019
“We say to them: ‘Play very well in your clubs.’ We will accompany, monitor and the moment they are in will be decisive,” Tite continued.
Criticised following a 1-1 draw against Panama on Saturday, Brazil were unconvincing in their win away to the Czechs in Prague, where Gabriel Jesus’ brace spared Tite’s blushes.
David Pavelka put the Czech Republic ahead before half-time, though Roberto Firmino equalised early in the second half.
Substitute Jesus came off the bench and scored twice to ease some of the pressure on Tite with a Copa America on home soil looming.
“Criticism can come from everyone, I’m exposed in my line of work and I must know how to deal with it. I just can’t deal with situations regarding moral or education, the rest is ok. I’m exposed and I have no intent of hitting back. No hypocrisy,” Tite said.
On Brazil’s form since their quarter-final exit at the 2018 World Cup, Tite added: “It’s been normal. If I had to use an adjective, let’s be careful not to synthesise too much. It’s normal, as far as modifications can be.
“For one who is listening, when he’s working with people [players] that he already knows, things flow easier. On the creative phase it might hurt a little, but our standard has been normal.”
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