June 26, 2018 / 4:15 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer-Neymar's tears not a sign of weakness, says Brazil coach

MOSCOW, June 26 (Reuters) - Brazil forward Neymar’s tears at the end of the 2-0 World Cup win over Costa Rica should not be seen as emotional weakness, his coach Tite said on Tuesday, adding that he had also cried after games.

Neymar wept after Brazil scored twice in stoppage time to beat the Central Americans, a reaction that led the Brazilian media to suggest their team might be emotionally brittle.

“We mustn’t think that a moment of emotion is a sign of emotional imbalance,” Tite told reporters on the eve of the Group E match against Serbia where Brazil need a draw to qualify for the last 16.

“I understand that there has to be a balance between reason and emotion, and there is a moment when you need ice, calm and lucidity,” he said.

Tite then remembered that he also cried after Brazil won 3-0 away to Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier in his first match in charge two years ago.

“I want to tell the whole Brazilian nation that....I cried,” he said. “When I called my wife, I cried with happiness, with satisfaction, because my characteristic is to be emotional. I cried with pride, as we were under so much pressure to play a good game.”

Tite added that Brazil had refused to allow desperation to creep in as they pressed for a goal against Costa Rica — a sign of mental strength.

“What is maintaining your gameplan? It’s when you score a goal in the 91st minute by playing with the style the team has been playing since the start of the game. I was very happy with the way we reacted emotionally in the second half,” he said.

Hoping to lead Brazil to a sixth world title, Tite said Neymar, who had a three-month injury layoff before the World Cup, needed one more game to reach full fitness.

“We are not placing an excessive responsibility on Neymar’s shoulders for success or failure,” he said. “It’s the whole team which wins or loses.” (Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Neil Robinson)

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