BUENOS AIRES, (Reuters) – Captain Lucio slammed Brazil’s Copa America performances yesterday saying the holders needed to improve their commitment in the colours of the five times world champions.
Brazil have drawn both their Group B matches so far, leaving them equal second in the standings with Paraguay two points behind surprise leaders Venezuela.
“No-one is happy with these results,” Lucio told reporters at Brazil’s training base outside the capital after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Paraguay in Cordoba.
“We know the quality of players we have in this squad, we must show much more, more seriousness and more commitment to the Brazilian national team shirt,” he said.
“I think the badge on the shirt is more important than the name on the back,” said the 33-year-old central defender, a World Cup winner in 2002 and one of the few survivors from Brazil’s 2010 team in coach Mano Menezes’s young squad.
“Each one of us has to looking for an improvement and understand that you have to give a bit more of yourself because we’re not getting the results.
“We know we have to put a bit more energy, more seriousness and competitiveness into our game. Everyone will have to show something with their performance because this is the Brazil team.”
Brazil’s performances have been fitful, only occasionally showing what Menezes wants in his efforts to return to their traditional attacking game – usually when playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso is involved.
Teenage forward Neymar, Ganso’s club mate for newly crowned South American champions Santos, has shown little of the sparkle that won him a place in the team although Menezes defended him after a lukewarm performance against Paraguay.
“He is one of the greats hopes we have. He’s already a reality for Santos and he showed good form in some friendlies with the national team,” Menezes said.
“But we have to wait for him and this tournament also is much harder than I expected.”
Menezes said the 19-year-old must learn to release the ball more quickly and not go solo too much.
“Against Paraguay his way was usually blocked by three opponents. He needs to realize that more quickly because behind those defenders there’s lots of space (others can run into).”
Brazil meet Ecuador In Cordoba today (0045 GMT Thursday) looking to secure a place in the quarter-finals, while Paraguay meet Venezuela in Salta (2215).