Brazil boss admits Firmino success despite not planning role for him

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Brazil manager Tite admits he did not plan on playing Roberto Firmino alongside Gabriel Jesus prior to Friday’s win over Costa Rica.

Firmino was introduced as a second-half partner for the Manchester City man as three much-needed points looked to be slipping away from Brazil.

The Liverpool man made a glaring difference with his presence and movement in the penalty area as a more productive focal point than Jesus.

He played an instrumental role in his side earning a valuable win when he towered above his marker to head into the path of Philippe Coutinho for an eventual tap-in in the 91st minute.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Tite praised the forward for his impact despite a lack of preparation for a role beside Jesus.

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Firmino was subject to similar praise after his bright cameo in Brazil’s opener against Switzerland, in which Jesus also struggled to make an impact. 

The Reds no.9 has retained the natural understanding he had with Philippe Coutinho at Anfield, with the pair producing some of their side’s most inventive football in their first victory in Russia.

His difference off the bench deserves to have put him in line for a start in Brazil’s key final Group E game against Serbia.

Brazil’s disjointed attacking approach is crying out for Firmino’s intensity from the front and ability to split defences from his movement.

He is arguably better-equipped than Jesus to demand the touch-tight marking capable of carving space for Neymar and Coutinho to operate in between the opposition defence and midfield. 

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