BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Reuters) - After making an impact as a substitute in Brazil’s Confederations Cup semi-final win over Uruguay, attacking midfielder Bernard is determined to keep impressing coach Luiz Felipe Scolari - even if it means biding his time.
The 20-year old was brought on with half an hour to go on Wednesday and his buzzing presence caused problems for the Uruguayans in the final minutes of a match Brazil won 2-1 with a late header from Paulinho.
According to Scolari, Bernard has “joy in his legs” and the fresh-faced youngster said he was happy with the vote of confidence.
“Players have to be ready, you can’t think that you won’t be called up,” Bernard told a news conference on Thursday, shortly before Brazil flew to Rio to prepare for Sunday’s final against Spain or Italy at the Maracana stadium.
“Now I need to keep working away, and not try to get ahead of myself.”
“It’s very early to talk about the World Cup,” he added.
“This is a very important experience for me, I am trying to establish myself and I am working hard. I know that I can do even better when the opportunity arises.”
Bernard’s entrance brought a huge roar from the fans in Belo Horizonte, where he plays for local side Atletico Mineiro.
But he said he was not overawed or weighed down by the expectation.
“(The manager) told me just to keep calm and do what I’ve been doing in training and with Atletico,” he said.
“I was delighted that he had the confidence in me. I hope I helped.”
Bernard stressed that the win over Uruguay was down to fight rather than finesse.
“It wasn’t the greatest of football but I’d like to underline that we are not going to play well in every game,” he acknowledged.
”But the determination, the fight, we never stopped running for a second.
”There is a lot still to do and we haven’t found the right balance yet.
“This has been a very important competition in every way, for the players, the backroom team and Brazilian fans. We needed this and we hope to keep it up and go all the way in the final.”
Writing by Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo; Editing by Justin Palmer