Below-par Neymar still makes Tite happy

The Paris Saint-Germain striker has enjoyed mixed fortunes in Russia, but he has the unconditional backing of his coach

Brazil head coach Tite admitted Neymar has not been at his best during the World Cup but defended the star’s performances, saying he has been “participating collectively”.

The 26-year-old was widely criticised for his theatrical reaction when he claimed that Mexico’s Miguel Layun stood on his ankle in Brazil’s 2-0 last-16 victory, but Tite previously said he supported Neymar’s view of the incident.

He reiterated his stance in blunt terms ahead of Brazil’s q

“The medical team know the price he paid to come to this point, also the physician. They know what he had to do to get here, in a sequence of matches.

“I knew, time allows you that [recovery]. It was a natural situation, he was faster than expected because he’s a great player, he resumed his work quickly.”

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