Tite: Brazil have quality to win without Neymar

MERIDA (Venezuela) • Brazil coach Tite has urged his team to "show maturity" against Venezuela today in the absence of their star player Neymar.

The Barcelona forward is suspended for the World Cup qualifier after picking up another yellow card during Brazil's 5-0 win over Bolivia last week, and Tite said other senior players need to step up.

"We need to show maturity as a group," the coach told a news conference.

"I don't think we are dependent on Neymar. Argentina are not only about (Lionel) Messi. The individuals will only shine if everybody in the team works for one another.

"Not having our best player means we have to be mature. There are a number of players who have the quality to play well."

Neymar's absence means Philippe Coutinho will be deployed on the left side of midfield, where he plays for Liverpool, while Chelsea's Willian will start on the right.

Coutinho has praised Tite for bringing confidence to the Brazil squad despite taking over the reins only in June.

"The confidence has returned," he said. "We are training a lot on positioning and tactics and in games everything has flowed just like it has in practice. This has been very important for us.

"Tite is a coach who keeps all the players focused, everyone feels important. Even when you don't play, he's always talking to you and when you get the opportunity, you are ready to do what he asks."

Brazil are second in the South American zone qualifying standings, one point behind Uruguay.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2016, with the headline 'Tite: Brazil have quality to win without Neymar'. Print Edition | Subscribe