ST PETERSBURG (June 22): Brazil coach Tite warned his country not to heap too much responsibility on Neymar's slight shoulders after the forward was seen crying after their 2-0 World Cup win over Costa Rica on Friday.
Brazil scored twice in stoppage time to move top of Group E but Neymar, who got involved in discussions with the referee and was awarded a penalty that was rescinded by the VAR, looked emotionally frail throughout, often gesticulating and falling down when tackled.
Tite said his tears could be down to the huge pressure of leading the five-times world champions.
"The joy, the satisfaction, and the pride of representing the Brazilian national team is a lot," Tite told reporters.
"He has the responsibility, the joy, the pressure and the courage to show it. We each show it in our own way."
"He was three-and-a-half months out (with injury) and he played the full match," Tite added, referring to the foot injury that kept the Paris St Germain player on the sidelines between February and June.
"He is a human being, he needs time to reach his high standards again but before that there is a team that needs to be strong and not dependent on him. Is he going to be back to his best? Yes, he is going to be back to his best."
Neymar posted on Instagram moments after Tite spoke.
"The tears were of joy, of overcoming difficulties, of commitment and will to win," he wrote. "Nothing in my life was ever easy and that's not going to change now. The dream continues, no not the dream, the OBJECTIVE."
Tite said Brazil should have been awarded the penalty that was chalked off by the VAR.
"When he (Neymar) draws the foul he is in front of goal," Tite said. "It is clear, it is not open to interpretation, the touch robs him of the possibility of him finishing. To me it is a penalty.
"We don’t need referees to win the game, we just want them to be fair. They should be fair for everyone. We don’t want help, Brazil doesn’t need help."