Neymar backs Tite for Brazil despite World Cup failure
Brazil superstar Neymar has come out in support of Selecao coach Tite and urged him to stay despite their disappointing World Cup.
Tite's side were one of the pre-tournament favourites in Russia, but Belgium eliminated them in the quarter-finals, securing a 2-1 win before eventually taking home the bronze medal.
Brazil just appeared to be hitting their stride when Roberto Martinez's men sent them packing in Kazan, with Neymar – who was roundly criticised for his behaviour on the pitch during the World Cup – seemingly close to his best in the last-16 defeat of Mexico.
Although their campaign ultimately unravelled, Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar had only positive words for the work of Tite, who helped restore a semblance of pride in the national team following their humiliating 7-1 exit to Germany at the 2014 World Cup on home soil.
"Tite did a great job, gathered a very strong group and I hope he continues," Neymar told reporters.
"The taste of being able to reach what we wanted was great because we knew that we had a good team and quality players to achieve our goal.
"We learned a lot with everything we've been through there. My mourning was big. It was the biggest sadness of my career. But it passed, I have to think ahead."
1 - Neymar has attempted the most shots (23) and shots on target (12), as well as creating the most goalscoring chances for his teammates (16) and suffering the most fouls (23) at the 2018 World Cup. Busy.#BRAMEX #BRA #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/wTjXLoro8w— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 2, 2018
Arguably the strongest criticism of Neymar's perceived on-field histrionics came from Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who called the tricky attacker an "actor".
However, Neymar is refused to let such comments get to him.
"As for what they [his critics] said, I have to carry on and take it as a joke. I'll never argue with anyone about this," Neymar added.
"The way I play is always the same. I started at age 17, I suffered a lot of fouls, a lot of hard tackles, and it's part of the sport. What I did at the World Cup was try to help Brazil, to help my country. Unfortunately we couldn't [win the competition]."