Tite, Brazil’s head coach, is confident that Philippe Coutinho, who is making his first appearance in national colors in almost a year, can help replace the injured Neymar.
Coutinho, who joined Aston Villa on loan from Barcelona earlier this month, is likely to start for the Selecao in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Ecuador in place of the suspended Lucas Paqueta.
After undergoing knee surgery in January 2021, the 29-year-old has not played for Brazil since October 2020. Coutinho’s return coincides with Neymar’s absence due to an ankle injury, which will keep him out of the forthcoming qualifiers.
Speaking to reporters, Tite said; “People always want Neymar, but at times things don’t happen the way you want. We feel sorry that Neymar can’t be here, but we have other options. I’m talking about Coutinho. He is a player that can play in that role and I believe in his quality. Coutinho is an important player and he’s been recovering to his best level.”
Coutinho, an ex-Liverpool attacker, has made an immediate impact at Villa Park, scoring the equalizer in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United on his debut.
Brazil has already secured a place in Qatar 2022, but Tite intended to put his players through their paces the qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay.
“I thought the emotions and feelings would be lighter but no, we have the same emotions and anxieties,” I want to test players in the upcoming qualifiers. I still have the same pressure,” Tite added.
Source: Livescore news