Panama stunned the Selecao by hanging on to a 1-1 draw in Porto on Saturday, with Madrid’s new star unable to feature due to injury
Brazil coach Tite has left the door open for Vinicius Junior to push into his Copa America plans as he suggested that his team could benefit from the Real Madrid youngster’s talents.
Vinicius has made a big impact in an otherwise underwhelming season for Madrid in 2018-19, impressing in his debut campaign and claiming a regular first-team place.
That form earned him a first call-up for the national team in March, only to see a muscle tear against Ajax confine him to the sidelines.
But the 18-year-old forward is expected to be back in action prior to the start of Brazil’s quest to regain the Copa on home soil, and Tite will not rule him out of the running for a place in his squad.
“Vinicius has qualities that we were missing to change the result of this game,” the coach signalled after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Panama, with Neymar also missing through injury for the Selecao.
Although Lucas Paqueta gave Brazil a first-half lead with his maiden international goal, Panama hit back after the interval with an equaliser that should not have stood due to scorer Adolfo Machado being offside.
Brazil piled pressure on towards the end, but they failed to find the winner to mask a generally disappointing performance.
Tite is not particularly concerned, however, suggesting he expected a less complete performance having called up several younger players.
“What do we establish at this stage now? We gave young people opportunities,” Tite told reporters.
“It was a bad result, and the first half was below our expectations. After half-time there were some adjustments we made.
“At the interval we were able to reorganise and we then went to a level of normality, but the first half was below expectations.
“It’s normal. Today we had a defensive line with [Eder] Militao and [Alex] Telles. This is the stage we are in.
“When we go to the Copa America, then I make the best choices. My expectation was to be a bit more creative, but I also have to accept that the midfield is going to make errors.
“I have to make these modifications so that the game can have a creative process with the forwards.
“The supporters are there to listen, to understand, to be annoyed by the result. Normally that’s the way it is.
“If I am a fan, I want to win against Panama. We have to understand the context, just as we have to understand the construction of the team.
“We will extend opportunities to the emerging players, because soon I will not have any more chances to do so.”
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