Brazil coach Tite has revealed his starting lineup for Sunday’s friendly against Nigeria, while insisting his priorities are weighted more toward fine-tuning the team.
The South American champions make two changes from the side that drew with Senegal on Thursday: influential playmaker Philippe Coutinho drops out, and is replaced by Copa America hero Everton, while Atletico Madrid’s Renan Lodi takes the left-back spot which was previously manned by Alex Sandro.
The 58-year-old defended himself when taken to task over not giving other players chances to prove themselves. “I can’t do three things. I can’t adjust the team, give opportunity and repeat patterns. I wanted to, but I can’t. I have to set priorities.”
Explaining the exclusion of Coutinho, Tite suggested the performance of the Bayern Munich midfielder against the Teranga Lions had been unsatisfactory, saying, “The function (of Coutinho) was impaired in the team. His performance in the offensive phase was harmed.
“My idea of football is balance. When you are overly defensive or offensive, you suffer. Balancing the team is our challenge. With Coutinho by our side, we lost aggression.”
The decision to bring in Lodi at left-back, according to the Brazil boss, was due to the loading of matches that Alex Sandro has had to come through at club level.
“He (Sandro) was coming off a long sequence with his club, travel, and also was not fully recovered. It is a very big opportunity for Renan.”
Here is how the Selecao will line up on Sunday: Ederson; Daniel Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Renan Lodi; Casemiro, Arthur; Jesus, Neymar, Everton; Firmino.