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NEY WAY WE WILL BE HOLDING BACK; BRAZIL v COSTA RICA LIVE ON ITV GROUP E, ST PETERSBURG, 1PM.

Byline: DARREN LEWIS

BRAZIL coach Tite has warned the world he will stick with "genius" Neymar and unleash his attack against Costa Rica.

The PSG star limped out of training during the week with an ankle problem.

It came after the five-time champions were held 1-1 last Sunday against Switzerland.

Tite, however, intends to field an unchanged side and has vowed to stick to the attacking principles that have made the Selecao the most feared nation on the planet.

He said: "I will not hold back Neymar or any other player in the final third. We have to respect the characteristics of Brazilian football.

"We want to win, it's a World Cup, but the coach is not going to risk a player's health by being dishonest to him. That's a price too high to pay.

"Those values of health and honesty, there's no compromise.

"There was this eagerness within the team and also for the coach, who is only human.

"But it's now over, we've passed that stage. Now even I have a better judgment about the tournament.

"The whole team has a better feeling of what to expect and to look for the goal." Tite also rejected claims he pulled Neymar to one side during training after last weekend's debacle to implore him to be more of a team player.

He said: "Absolutely not. The information you got is not true. It didn't happen.

"All the players have the responsibility of playing for the collective and also being individuals, some with specific characteristics. Neymar, I'm not going to take away from him this initiative in the last third of the pitch. He's a genius. You have my word, this is not true."

Barcelona superstar Philippe Coutinho has admitted the Brazil team need to do more to take the burden off Neymar who is also getting rough treatment from opposition players.

He said: "We know Neymar gets targeted but there is not much we can do about that. We are used to it, he is even used to it, we just have to trust the refs to do their job and protect him.

"The Brazilian people always think we will win the World Cup so there is always expectation.

"We are OK with that, we believe we can do it."

CAPTION(S):

BEAT THE CROCK Neymar trains yesterday under watchful eye of Tite

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 22, 2018
Words:393
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