Happier than five goals of mine – Neymar praises Jesus
Brazil captain Neymar said he was much happier that under-fire team-mate Gabriel Jesus scored a goal than if he had netted five against Saudi Arabia.
Jesus ended his international goal drought as Brazil defeated 10-man Saudi Arabia 2-0 in an international friendly in Riyadh on Friday.
The Manchester City forward had failed to score during Brazil's World Cup campaign in Russia, where the Selecao lost in the quarter-finals, sparking criticism.
Neymar – who impressed against the Saudis – leapt to defence of Jesus as he praised the 21-year-old post-match, telling reporters: "I was very happy to have assisted Gabriel Jesus.
"I think there was an unfair criticism on him, for all the work he did for us, for everything he asked for.
"In my view, they did a very great injustice with him. I was much happier that he scored a goal than if I had five."
Foto: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF pic.twitter.com/dX9aL5DDeu
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Jesus, making his first post-Russia 2018 appearance, opened the scoring with his 11th goal for Brazil two minutes before half-time – Neymar the provider.
Alex Sandro netted Brazil's second in the 96th minute after Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais' red card for handling outside the area.
"We didn't produce a great performance, but we were consistent," Neymar added. "There are even games in the World Cup that have to be like this, you do not present a great football, but you end up winning.
"We know of our potential. There are many changes, there is a little more understanding in the field."
Tite, meanwhile, was not happy with Brazil's performance despite celebrating his 23rd victory in 29 matches as head coach.
"Right from the start, we did not perform as we had imagined," he said. "The performance was below-par for this team. We play more, produce more, compete, show a higher level of concentration than that. Most was below [our usual level]."
"We were also hampered because when you change the basic structure of the team and start putting in new players, they do not have that understanding, the movement, the organised triangulation of different parts of the team, but the match was worthwhile to be able to make those observations," Tite continued.