Brazil coach Tite refused to criticise striker Neymar after an incident in which the Brazil striker appeared to once again be guilty of over-reacting following a possible incident on the touchline in the second half of Brazil’s 2-0 win over Mexico to book their place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
Neymar needed four minutes treatment after clutching his shin following a possible aggression by Mexican substitute Miguel Layun although TV replays show that any contact, if I existed was extremely slight, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I saw what happened, everyone who is watching, and you can see the image,” said Tite, before praising the forward, who scored the opening goal in their 2-0 win over Mexico.
“Neymar was out of action for three and a half months, that is a lot at the top level. A top-level player needs 4 or 5 matches to recover, he played well in the last game and today he repeated his excellence,” he said.
Neymar was also asked about the incident but preferred not to discuss it saying he felt accusations of play-acting were “an attempt to undermine me.”
“I don’t care about criticism or praise, because that can influence your attitude. I haven’t talked to the press, because I don’t want controversy,” he said in the post-game press conference
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio had earlier slammed Neymar for his attitude, although he refused to name him specifically.
“I think it is a disgrace for the game that you lose so much time for one single player…I don’t think that is a good example for football or followers of football. It is a game for tough people and not to act like a clown,” said Osorio.
Meanwhile Tite was pleased with Brazil’s performance, saying; “We had 21 chances, it was a great game and I really enjoyed it. Our transitions were really quick.”
He also had praise for winger Willian, who set up Neymar for the first goal and was a massive influence in the second half.
“Willian has been playing really well, sometimes he suffers tactically, it’s not that he has too much work, but he does a lot, but in the second half today he was allowed to shine,” said the Brazil boss.