Brazil boss Tite has defended his players and their exuberant celebrations in Monday night’s World Cup victory over South Korea and insists they were not being disrespectful.
The free-flowing Selecao put their last-16 opponents to the sword in a ruthless first-half display of attacking football, with Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta all getting on the scoresheet in a 4-1 win.
Each goal was accompanied by jubilant celebrations and dance moves, with Richarlison even running over to the dugout to do his trademark pigeon impression with his 61-year-old manager.
Not everyone enjoyed the choreographed celebrations, however, with ITV pundit and Manchester United legend Roy Keane branding it ‘disrespectful’ to South Korea and saying it was more like watching Strictly Come Dancing.
But Tite – who had promised his squad he would join in if they taught him the moves – will not ask his players to stop dancing and says it is a means for his younger stars to express themselves.
‘You have to learn how to do the moves,’ said Tite at his post-match press conference. ‘And the moves are very tight!
‘I have to be very careful though. There are people who are evil who will say that was disrespectful.’
He continued: ‘There is no interpretation [of the celebrations] other than happiness at the goal, happiness for the team and happiness for the performance.
‘There was no disrespect for the opposition nor towards [South Korea coach] Paulo Bento, for whom I have a lot of respect.’
Tite added: ‘We try to adapt to the characteristics of the players. They are very young and I try to adapt a bit to their language, and part of their language is dancing.’
Asked about Brazil’s celebrations at half-time of the win over South Korea, Keane had said: ‘I don’t like this. [Fellow pundit] Eni [Aluko] has made the point about culture and it’s their way, but I think it’s really disrespectful to the opposition.
‘It’s 4-0 and they’re doing it every time. I don’t mind the first little jig or whatever it is they’re doing.
‘It’s the one after that, and then the manager getting involved in it! I’m not happy with it. I don’t think it’s good at all. Disrespectful.’
It was also suggested that the decision to sub on third-choice goalkeeper Weverton late on was not particularly respectful either, but Tite responded: ‘It’s difficult to sub on a goalkeeper, but when you have the opportunity, it’s a chance to get everyone playing.’
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