Two Premier League players have been battling for a spot in the Brazilian national team. The arrival of the new manager Tite has changed several pieces of the squad, and the new positions have put Philippe Coutinho and Willian against each other to fight for the same place.
Willian started in Tite’s first two games, but his performances were very disappointing. The winger failed to create plays and could barely go past defenders, unlike he does at Chelsea.
On the other hand, Coutinho was brought to replace Willian in both games and had very good displays. Against Ecuador, he came on at 61 minutes when the match was tied 0-0, and Brazil scored three goals after that. Last night, against Colombia, he entered the pitch at 65 minutes when the game was 1-1 and made the assist for Neymar’s winner.
After the game, Tite commented on both players. First he talked about Coutinho: “He’s used to play coming from the left to the right, where Neymar acts. Making him adapt to the central function would be harder, but I could use him on the right. He felt good there.”
And then he made sure to calm the Chelsea star: “I want to transmit the idea that it’s not because of a bad game that I’m taking the guy off. It creates insecurity. I’m talking about Willian,”
Coutinho also talked to journalists after the match. When asked about this comparison, he said: “I try to get my opportunities. I always try to do my best. The group is very qualified, has many quality players, so I’m very happy to be part of the national team.”
During the post-match talk on TV, ESPN’s Eduardo Tirone has resumed the whole question: “Willian has been the biggest disappointment of this short Tite era. What is strange is that he’s good player. I think he’s a very good player. I find him useful for all clubs, for Chelsea certainly, and even for Dunga’s team. But with Tite, he hasn’t fit yet. And Philipe Coutinho has been coming on and decisive.”
After Tite’s two games, Brazil jumped from sixth to second place in the World Cup Qualifiers, being only behind Uruguay now.