Brazil midfielder Casemiro has given his backing to national team coach Tite ahead of Sunday’s Copa America final on home soil.
Speculation in local media following the semi-final victory over arch-rivals Argentina in the week suggested the 58-year-old would not be continuing in his role after the end of the tournament.
That led to the unusual step of the Brazil Football Confederation publicly confirming the coach would stay on.
“The Brazilian Football Confederation expresses its confidence in the work of the coaching staff of the Brazilian national team and reaffirms that it will be maintained on a permanent basis,” said a statement.
Casemiro added his full support for the manager.
“He has won a lot of national and international titles, and he is a victor,” he told Brazilian journalists.
“He’s a coach who has been in the position for three years and has (won) more than 80 per cent.
“Tite is in our heads to be mentally strong, not to destabilise (us).
“He has a great success in this, to make the team concentrate and not to fall in the trap of the opponents, to let them provoke us, so people do not fall for it.”
Brazil are favourites to win Sunday’s final, at the Maracana, but Peru’s Argentinian coach Ricardo Gareca has confidence in his side.
“When you make it to the final, you have to try to win it. There’s no other option,” he said.
“We reached the final thanks to our own merits. This group is very strong. I think that’s the key. It has the strength to overcome adversities.
“We have the players to do it. We are peaking right now. If I had to choose a time to make it to the final, it would be now.
“But we know that it will be difficult against Brazil no matter how we are playing.”
Veteran striker Paolo Guerrero, whose goal in Wednesday’s win made him the highest Copa America scorer (13) among players still currently active, is not worried about the fact few are giving his side a chance.
“You can call them favourites if you want to. But for us, there are no favourites on the field.
“We have to stay humble and do our job. There are a lot of people not showing respect for Peru right now. I have a lot of respect for Brazil, but I also respect my country.”