Tite: More talk about Neymar in media than within Brazil squad

Tite claims Neymar’s absence is not at the top his mind despite the fact he remains in the spotlight ahead of Brazil’s Copa America opener.

Neymar will be absent for Brazil’s Copa America campaign this summer because of an ankle injury. He suffered the blow in the team’s 2-0 friendly win over Qatar in Brasília on June 6.

Naturally, losing their star forward has hampered Brazil’s pre-tournament preparations. While Chelsea winger Willian has replaced Neymar, Selecao supporters can’t help but rue the Paris Saint-Germain star’s absence.

Although public interest in Neymar is not solely down to matters on the pitch as he continues to fight a rape allegation made by Brazilian model Najila Trindade.

For Tite and his players, however, the focus only lies on Saturday’s Copa America opener against Bolivia in Group A.

“There’s more talk about Neymar [in the media] than there is talk about him within the squad,” said Tite, according to Yahoo.

“Within the squad, we are focused on our preparations. I would never want to be in this situation of playing without Neymar, a top-three player in the world, but we have to be prepared.”

The eight-time winners are under pressure to deliver on home soil this summer and erase the memory their 2016 group-stage exit.

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“We cannot deny responsibility [to win],” continued Tite.

“Of course we want to win. But we know that we have to build steps for the title.

“It cannot be just a speech. The title comes built on a team format, ideal, mistakes and hits, consolidation, evolution, learning and growing up. It’s inevitable.

The Brazil boss added: “The Brazilian national team are one of the favourites, but they aren’t the only one.

“There are great teams. And there is the surprise element in these competitions. We are aware of the responsibility to win, but we have to take responsibility with joy. I have a colleague who says that without joy it’s not worth it.”

However, Tite’s side will be without Arthur Melo on Saturday. The Barcelona midfielder got injured in last weekend’s 7-0 friendly win over Honduras.

Brazil’s Group A opener against Bolivia will take place in Sao Paulo, with kick-off set for 02:30 AM (CET).

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JUNE 13: Richarlison and Arthur of Brazil during a training session.


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