The Liverpool man thinks that the Selecao can still advance to the quarter-finals despite having their captain suspended for their final group outing
Philippe Coutinho believes that Brazil can reach the knockout stages of Copa America 2015 even though Neymar will miss their final Group C fixture against Venezuela due to suspension.
The Selecao captain was shown a red card late on in their 1-0 defeat to Colombia on Wednesday – ending a run of 11 straight victories – and has provisionally been banned for one game.
Coutinho missed that match after picking up a thigh injury in the friendly win over Honduras before the competition in Chile began.
Yet despite the absence of their talisman for their next outing, the Liverpool forward believes that the Brazil team will unite to overcome the loss – though he is unsure whether he will be the man to replace him.
“Neymar is a great player, our main man, but everyone is prepared and focused on what we want,” Coutinho said in a press conference.
“We lost our main player, but the group is strong. We are focused to overcome the loss of Neymar in the next game.
“I do not know if I’m going to play. I believe that everyone is prepared.”It depends on the coach. I am prepared and I will do my best to help the team come away with the victory. We have great players in the Selecao – creative, fast and smart.
“The most important thing is the team. Whoever plays has to get the job done.”
Fernandinho admitted that losing Neymar to a back injury at World Cup 2014 was different to it happening on this occasion, but backed Coutinho to be a capable deputy.
“This time it is different [to the World Cup]. That time it was due to injury, it hurt everyone. Now it’s different, it’s a suspension from a card. But I am particularly calm,” he told reporters.
“In the case that Coutinho replaces him, he is ready. He is one of the best players of Liverpool and has done well for the Seleção. We will be represented well.
“With or without Neymar we try to play fast football, attacking down the wings.”Some think we play for Neymar, but our intention is to involve all of the attack in the game.”
Brazil take on La Vinotinto in their final Group C fixture on Sunday with all four teams in the pool joined on four points.
Coutinho feels they will still make the latter stages of what he considers to be one of the toughest editions of the Copa America.
“The information we have is that they are a team that plays tactically strong. But in the coming days we will watch videos and talk about the opponent,” he added.
“We had a good sequence of victories before the Copa América. It’s a complicated competition but we are in shape to advance from this phase.
“Nowadays football doesn’t have any easy teams. Every game is difficult and teams come prepared. [This is] one of the most difficult Copa Americas.”