Copa America 2019: Brazil Coach Tite hints at making changes ahead of last group game against Peru

The Associated Press
Brazil Coach Tite is likely to shuffle his team's offence, giving starting spots to players who played well after coming off the bench against Venezuela

Sao Paulo: Under pressure after two lacklustre performances by Brazil in the Copa America at home, coach Tite is expected to make changes to his squad ahead of their final group game this weekend.

Brazil face Peru on Saturday in Sao Paulo needing at least a draw to guarantee a place in the next round of the South American competition. Few people doubt that Brazil will make it through, but only a convincing performance will satisfy the demanding Brazilian fans and relieve some of the pressure on Tite.

The coach's main changes are expected in the attack, which has been the team's primary weakness. Brazil entered the tournament without Neymar because of an ankle injury, and none of the other forwards have been able to make up for his absence.

David Neres, Richarlison and Roberto Firmino, the trio that started the first two matches, are yet to score. In the 3-0 opening win against Bolivia, Brazil had two goals from Philippe Coutinho and one from substitute Everton. The second match was a 0-0 draw against Venezuela on Tuesday.

"We weren't effective enough in the attack," Tite said after the Venezuela match. "We needed to be more precise up front to be able to translate our superiority into goals."

Tite, who on Thursday completed three years as Brazil coach, said that after the team's World Cup elimination last year, he had regretted taking too long to make changes to the squad and that this time he will not be making the same mistake.

Brazil was jeered in both their Copa America matches and many of the boos were aimed at Tite when he substituted defensive midfielder Casemiro with another defensive midfielder Fernandinho against Venezuela despite his team's inability to create scoring chances.

The fans wanted him to use Everton, who played well coming off the bench in both games and is the player most likely to earn a starting spot against Peru. The 23-year-old Gremio forward helped open up the opponent's defence, allowing Brazil to create more scoring opportunities.

The other possible player to get a chance on Saturday is Gabriel Jesus, who has also come off the bench twice. The Manchester City forward wasn't as effective as Everton but did help improve the attack. He found the net in the second half against Venezuela, but the goal was disallowed after a video review.

David Neres performed decently while playing in Neymar's position, but it was Coutinho who many felt should have taken over the leading role from the Paris Saint-Germain star. Coutinho also had a goal disallowed by video review against Venezuela. However, despite his decisive scores against Bolivia, his performances haven't met the expectations.

Two midfielders didn't practice along with the rest of the squad on Thursday because of minor injuries €" Arthur and Fernandinho. Arthur hurt his foot against Venezuela but is expected to be available on Saturday, while Fernandinho is likely to be out because of a knee ailment.

Brazil and Peru are tied at the top of Group A with four points, two more than third-placed Venezuela. Bolivia has no points after two matches. Venezuela and Bolivia meet in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

Also See: Copa America 2019: Venezuela hold Brazil to goalless draw after controversial VAR decision denies Philippe Coutinho's late strike

Copa America 2019: Neymar's absence could be blessing in disguise for Brazil with Tite's younger core ready to fill void

International friendlies: Philippe Coutinho inspires Brazil to 7-0 thrashing of 10-man Honduras ahead of Copa America

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