FORTALEZA, Brazil: Brazil striker Neymar has admitted he is happy to win ugly as he looks to take another step towards delivering his country’s sixth World Cup on home soil against Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
La Selecao have been criticized for some of their less convincing performances on route to the quarterfinals, most notably in squeezing past Chile on penalties in the last 16.
“You can’t always enjoy yourself and win 4-0 or 5-0. Football nowadays is so difficult, so even, that the team who is most committed on the pitch ends up winning,” said the Barcelona man on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
“I don’t want a show. That’s the last thing we are trying to do. We are not necessarily here to produce a spectacle. We are here to run to the end, until we are tired, and come out as winners.”
Neymar fell to the ground in tears as Chile’s Gonzalo Jara missed the decisive spot-kick in the shootout in Belo Horizonte with teammates Julio Cesar and captain Thiago Silva also seen to cry in relief as much as joy.
Worried that carrying the expectations of 200 million Brazilians is becoming too much for his squad, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari called the team’s sports psychologist Regina Brandao in for an extra session with the players on Tuesday.
And Neymar said the sessions were having the desired effect.
“I had never done anything like it before and I am quite enjoying it,” added the 22-year-old.
One of the major concerns for Scolari has been the lack of support for Neymar in attacking areas as he has scored half of his side’s eight goals after four games, whilst other forwards Fred, Jo and Hulk have struggled to make an impact.
Neymar, though, claimed the team isn’t overly dependent on him.