Tite: “Vinicius missed an opportunity for Copa America claim”

Vinicius Junior “missed an opportunity” to stake his claim for a spot in Brazil’s Copa America squad and will now have to impress again at Real Madrid, warned Tite.

The Selecao handed Vinicius a maiden call-up to senior international football after his standout displays at Real this season.

Unfortunately, Vinicius was later forced to pull out due to an ankle injury from Real’s Champions League defeat to Ajax. Thus, the Dutch side’s own Brazilian star David Neres was brought instead.

Brazil manager Tite then handed Neres his first cap for the national team, where he impressed in a 27-minute cameo during their 3-1 friendly win at the Czech Republic.

As for Vinicius, though, Tite conceded his absence was a blow for his Copa America chances. The teenager isn’t expected to return to action until early May, with the competition to start in June.

“Vinicius missed an opportunity, he’s going to have to play very well in his club,” said Tite, according to Yahoo.

“Neres is going to have to continue playing very well, just as Richarlison entered a situation where Pedro was injured.

“We say to them: ‘Play very well in your clubs.’ We will accompany, monitor and the moment they are in will be decisive.”

The five-time World Cup champions were handed a scare on Tuesday night when David Pavelka’s first-half goal put the Czech Republic ahead. But Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino equalised in the 49th-minute for Brazil.

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Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus then wrapped up the game for Brazil by scoring a late brace after coming off the bench.

The victory provided Tite with a bit of breathing space following Brazil’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Panama last weekend.

“Criticism can come from everyone, I’m exposed in my line of work and I must know how to deal with it,” said Tite.

“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.”

On how Brazil have done since their World Cup quarter-final defeat to Belgium, Tite said: “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.”

Brazil will next face Bolivia in Group A for the opening game of the 2019 Copa America on June 15.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC – MARCH 26: Patrik Schick (R) of the Czech Republic is challenged by Thiago Silva of Brazil during the international friendly match between the Czech Republic and Brazil at Sinobo Stadium on March 26, 2019 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Thomas Eisenhuth/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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