Brazil coach denies he could leave after Copa América final

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil coach Tite denied Saturday he could leave his job after the Copa América final against Peru.

Asked about his plans, a visibly bothered Tite repeated to journalists that his contract is until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The coach refused to say more about a report on Brazilian website UOL saying he was considering leaving — regardless of the result of the final at Sunday’s Maracanã Stadium.

“2022 is the contract … That is the contract that Tite signed with the Brazilian soccer confederation,” the coach said.

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Tite became Brazil’s coach in 2016 and appeared to emphasize experience by bringing an aging squad to Copa América. Critics claim he wanted to avoid experiments in order to win the tournament and secure a less bumpy road ahead to the next World Cup.

The coach has lost support from fans since the 2018 World Cup in Russia because of his conservative choices. Some of the players that didn’t make it to Copa América also suggested they disagreed with Tite, including Real Madrid left-back Marcelo, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho and Tottenham striker Lucas Moura.

The report also said Brazil’s soccer body is already seeking possible replacements for Tite.

The reasons for the coach’s possible departure, according to the report, are the dismantlement of his Brazil staff. Assistant Sylvinho has joined Lyon and coordinator Edu Gaspar is reportedly joining Arsenal once the Copa América ends.

The Brazil coach dismissed critics that have increased the pressure on him in recent months.

“We live in a country that is passionate. We quickly go from one level to another, from one extreme to the other. But our work cannot be like that,” Tite said.

Asked if the Copa América title could erase recent Brazil failures in World Cups, including the 7-1 home humiliation against Germany in the 2014 semifinals, Tite said that would not be the case.

Right-back Dani Alves defended his coach to journalists, something that his teammates Marquinhos and Casemiro did on Friday.

“The captain of our boat has taken care of every detail for us to play well,” veteran Alves said. “The only thing we can promise is 100% effort. We need to deserve the result more than our adversaries.”

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