Brazil coach Tite reckons no team can ever stop Lionel Messi or Neymar in their tracks as he prepares for the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier against Argentina on Nov. 11.
Argentina will make the trip to Brazil in hope of climbing back into the qualifying spots after being dropped to sixth place, following FIFA’s decision to forfeit Bolivia’s two matches that pushed Chile into fifth.
Despite the prematch talk hovering around stopping Messi, Tite is adamant that he has a game plan in mind to keep the Barcelona star in check.
“Lionel Messi does not stop, Neymar does not stop,” Tite said.
“You can decrease their actions. You can try to decrease the number of entries, but what am I going to do, is that the question? I’m not telling.”
While the Brazilians are wary of Messi’s ability to win games on his own, the Brazilian tactician is adamant that a strong team effort will be crucial in order to come away with three points.
“I can tell several players individually that they can make a difference and decide a game,” he added.
“I do not agree that a single player will find the victory. At some point he may shine, but because the collective will be strong. On the field will be [Philippe] Coutinho, [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Angel] Di Maria, Douglas Costa, Gabriel Jesus. I mean, there are many players with great technical qualities that in an individual play, in a moment of creation, can make the difference.
“As I said before, we have to improve the virtues that we have — and that is my challenge as a coach — play in a way that allows the creative side of players to give the condition of improvisation, individual play in the last third of the field … This is our challenge, for me and for [Argentina coach] Edgardo Bauza. On the other hand, decrease — because we cannot neutralise a great player — but decrease their actions. How we’re going to do that is another story.”
Brazil currently sit top of the standings with 21 points and are on a four-game winning streak and another victory against their archrivals could well put Bauza’s team even further behind.
“The fact that Argentina is outside the classification zone is not a motivation for us, that would be small thinking. I think of the show, that we have to make a great match and that we can win. But not that this creates a bad situation for the other, that is to think small,” he said.
“We want to win because it is good, because it is part of the sport, because it will be a great spectacle, because we have ambition, we want to be better, we want to qualify. We are not classified. If you look four rounds back we were back there. And we know all this. Argentina have an incredible technical quality. [Pablo] Zabaleta plays very well, [Javier] Mascherano too. If we sleep a bit at the defence, they have Di Maria, [Gonzalo] Higuain and [Sergio] Aguero. I’m talking about others without mention of Messi.”