ORLANDO (US): Brazil coach Dunga hailed hat-trick hero Philippe Coutinho for delivering his Liverpool club form in the colours of the Selecao after he inspired the team to a 7-1 victory over Haiti at the Copa America.
Yellow fever in USA: Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho (second from left) celebrates with teammates after scoring in a Copa America match against Haiti in Orlando, USA on Wednesday. Coutinho scored thrice as the Brazilians won 7-1. Pic/AFP
Two of Coutinho’s goals were beautifully struck long-range efforts and he was a constant threat throughout the one-sided game with his movement and ability on the ball. Coutinho said Brazil now needs to try and reach the final.
“We knew we had to try more shots from distance and this was something we improved on over the last game,” said Coutinho, referring to the goalless opener with Ecuador.
The Liverpool player said that Dunga had given him a free hand to attack and had asked him for more goals. The 23-year-old now hopes that Brazil can progress deep into the tournament. “I think we have to dream big and think of the final,” he said.
Dunga said, “We have talked quite a lot to him about being the ‘Liverpool Coutinho’ — to take the initiative, be a leading part of the team, all within his own style,” said Dunga, the former 1994 World Cup-winning captain.
“He is really taking advantage of the opportunities he has been given.
“After his first goal you could see him gain confidence and a player with confidence is always going to be better,”
Prior to Tuesday’s win Coutinho had only scored one goal for Brazil, last year in a friendly against Mexico.
Coutinho, playing in an advanced role on the left, linked-up well down the flank with Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis who believes they compliment each other well.
‘Can open the defence’
“I think he plays better, close to their defensive line, because he can easily open them up with his dribbling skills.
I’ve got to know him better and so I can help him. I think where he is playing on the left side is perfect,” said Luis.