Tite admits making a mistake with Neymar injury but remains confident Brazil’s talisman will return in Qatar


Brazil lost Neymar to an ankle injury in their win over Serbia, with Tite saying he made a mistake in not bringing his star man off earlier.

Tite conceded he made a mistake in not realising earlier that Neymar had sustained an ankle injury in Brazil’s World Cup win over Serbia.

Neymar limped off in the 80th minute of the Selecao’s 2-0 win on Thursday after suffering what was described as a collateral ligament injury in his right ankle.

The Paris Saint-Germain star shared an update on his official Instagram account on Saturday, including photos of his severely swollen leg.

Tite said in his post-match press conference that he believed Neymar, as well as Danilo, who also suffered an injury against Serbia, would still be able to play in Qatar.

However, in his pre-match media conference ahead of Brazil’s second Group G match against Switzerland, Tite said he could have handled his star man better.

“I made a mistake,” he said. “I didn’t realize that and I want to admit it publicly.

“He was injured, I didn’t see that he had an injury, we didn’t get that information.

“He tried to continue playing until he told us he felt his ankle, because that’s when he had the ability to try to get on with the team, he was involved in the goals.

“I didn’t see him get injured, it was 10 minutes and it wasn’t malicious, it was an accident.

Neymar was fouled nine times against Serbia and has been subjected to heavy treatment in his previous two appearances at the World Cup.

At the 2014 and 2018 World Cups combined, Neymar was fouled by a leading player 44 times – or once every 21 minutes, more than any other player who has been fouled at least 25 times.

“If we want to celebrate football, we have to pay attention to fouls because they target specific players,” Tite said. “This is a fact and it needs to be stopped.”

However, Tite remains confident that Neymar and Danilo will both be back before Brazil’s campaign in Qatar ends.

“That’s my opinion,” he said. “I am medically unable to speak, but I have medical reports.

“I can continue to say that not only about Neymar, but also about Danilo. Both situations have changed, but we believe that both will be available to play.

“We have to live day by day, deal with the possibilities. We have 26 players who have to be fit and in great form, so we have been working. It shows why team spirit is important.”

When told that even without Neymar, Brazil remain favorites to win the World Cup, Tite replied: “Neymar is an extraordinary talent, but we also rely on our other players.

“I think about great talents, they are players who do everything well and maybe get it in three opportunities. Creativity is not constant.”

“This talent only appears two or three times in a game and Neymar has that ability.

“There are other players. An assist from Vinicius [Junior] or creativity at the end from Richarlison, a header from Pedro, chances for Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha… they have that ability.”

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