Tite ponders Brazil changes after Argentina loss

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By AFP
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Brazil manager Tite says he is considering changes for Tuesday’s game against Australia after blasting his side’s poor finishing in the loss to Argentina in Melbourne.

The world’s number one ranked team wasted several scoring opportunities as Argentina hung on for a 1-0 win in their Superclasico at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

A goal from Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado just before half-time proved the eventual winner as Argentina gained a morale-boosting victory under new manager Jorge Sampaoli.

The two-time world champions and second ranked team are struggling outside the automatic qualifying positions in fifth spot in the South American group with four games left while Brazil have already qualified for the World Cup finals in Russia next year.

Tite looked on as Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus hit the woodwork with the goal at his mercy before Chelsea’s Willian fired into the opposite post with the rebound midway through the second half.

“They (Argentina) were not that superior, but we needed more precision in our finishing to take our opportunities,” Tite told reporters after the match through an interpreter.

“We have a lot of things to assess and I might need to make some changes so that we play with better coherence and in a more organised way.

“Even in the match against Uruguay (4-1 win in Montevideo in March) we had to make some adjustments, but in the end what we really have to find is some goals.”

The Brazilians are staying on in Australia to play a second match in Melbourne on Tuesday against the Socceroos, who are tuning up for this month’s Confederations Cup in Russia.

Tite said he was looking for his side to be more clinical against the Australians, who downed Saudi Arabia 3-2 in a crucial home qualifier for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

“The team played well, but we had some trouble marking their (Argentina’s) top players in the first half, and they were playing faster than us,” he said.

“In the second half, we had more possession and played better.

“We had the effort and the formation we wanted but we need more of the players performing at a higher level.

“We didn’t deserve the victory. We need to be more aggressive and we have to neutralise the other team so that we can get the game more on our terms.”

Tite said Brazil had to make better use of their “technical power.”

“We have to be better prepared. We have to look at the game as a whole: the way we want to play, the technical power that we have, and we have to look at the competition,” he said.

“We want to get to the level that we can dominate the game. That way we can get the performance and the results we want.”

Tite said he would assess the condition of Jesus, who was carried off after he collected an elbow in the face in an aerial challenge with Manchester City team-mate Nicolas Otamendi in the final minutes and taken to hospital for observation.

But Brazil’s team coordinator Edu Gaspar said Jesus had been given the all clear.

“Jesus is fine,” Edu told reporters. “I spoke to the doctor, he said he is OK. He did the exam to see if it (his jaw) is broken or not but nothing has happened.”

Argentina will stop off and play in Singapore on Tuesday, but will be without Lionel Messi and defender Otamendi, who will skip the game to prepare for their weddings later this month.

Barcelona superstar Messi will marry his girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo on June 30, with Otamendi’s wedding scheduled for June 16.

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