How Abu Dhabi's Great Pitch Helped Coutinho Produce Magical Football

Published November 21st, 2019 - 10:05 GMT
"You saw how Coutinho played . He was dribbling, he was also able to control the ball so well and made some great passes. It happened because we had a perfect pitch in Abu Dhabi"
"You saw how Coutinho played . He was dribbling, he was also able to control the ball so well and made some great passes. It happened because we had a perfect pitch in Abu Dhabi"

It was only a few months ago at the 2019 Copa America in Brazil that the likes of Lionel Messi slammed the organizers of the South American championship for the poor quality of pitches.

Even the home team coach Tite, whose men went on to win the title, was critical of the pitches at the Copa America, the most prestigious continental championship after the Euro.

Tite didn't mince his words even though it was his own country that was hosting the tournament in stadiums that had also staged the 2014 Fifa World Cup matches.

Tite showed his frustrations after Brazil narrowly beat Paraguay on penalties in Porto Alegre in the quarterfinals.

"It's ridiculous, at a high level, having a pitch which is so difficult to play on. It's inconceivable," Tite said after that game.

Naturally, it sounded like music to the ears when Tite, the manager of the world's most popular international team, praised the quality of the pitch at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi after Brazil beat South Korea 3-0 in a high-profile international friendly on Tuesday night.

Tite even credited the pitch for Philippe Coutinho's magnificent display against South Korea.

The 27-year-old Bayern Munich playmaker played a big role in Lucas Paqueta's first goal of the match for Brazil before scoring from a sumptuous free kick.

"Today, we played on a great pitch. It's easier to produce great football when you get a great pitch to play on," the former Al Ain coach told reporters after the match.

"You saw how Coutinho played today. He was dribbling, he was also able to control the ball so well and made some great passes. It happened because we had a perfect pitch in Abu Dhabi. Also, the pitch in Saudi Arabia on which we played against Argentina on Friday was great."

Having ended their five-match winless run on Tuesday, Tite is now eyeing the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in South America which will begin in March, 2020.

And the 58-year-old coach says the youngsters will play a big role in his team.

"Today we had six under 23 players against South Korea. These matches give these young players experience. It gives them an opportunity to show their quality," he said.

"Lucas Paqueta was very good today. Fabinho was good as well. Eder Militao was great. Now I know that I can use these players in the qualifiers."

Tite, who was under immense pressure following the team's five-game winless run, said he was very pleased with how his team played against South Korea.

"The result and the performance against a strong South Korean team makes me happy. Our third goal from Danilo came after 48 passes. This is our idea of football," he said.

"We are building the team for the next World Cup. Of course, there were some mistakes in these six matches since the Copa. Sometimes you don't find the solutions that you are trying to find. But you keep trying and that is the job of the coach.

"I know the Brazilian press is always analyzing the matches and giving their opinion and I respect that. But this is high level football.

"When you make adjustments, sometimes you make mistakes. We played Peru and Colombia after the Copa and we made some mistakes. But as I said, it's a process."


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