Fluminense coach Abel Braga: We will prioritise the Copa Libertadores
Fluminense coach Abel Braga has revealed that the recently crowned Brazilian champions will focus on the Copa Libertadores in the first half of 2013, citing his Internacional side of 2006 as an example.
Braga, 60, who won the award for best coach in Brazil this year, led Inter to the Copa Libertadores title in 2006 and used mainly a reserve side in the Gaucho state championship, something he believes is key to helping win the South American title.
"It's right to prioritise the Libertadores," the coach told newsletter Direto das Laranjeiras.
"It must be so. It doesn't not mean we will win, but it is the correct way. See Corinthians. They arrived on time and dropped the Brazilian championship, and was always saving, but they recovered in the end.
"And I also speak from experience with Inter - when we won the Libertadores, we use the reserve team in more than half of the championship and Gaucho championship games.
"We never played a full team to win the Gaucho, because we were really focused on winning the Libertadores. The competitions mix and that's not cool."
Fluminense tried something similar this season, but without winning the Carioca championship in seven years, there was pressure to end that sequence. Now that they have, it's Botafogo's turn to deal with that pressure.
"This year, we will not focus well on the Carioca, because there was the anxiety of the club, the fans and the leaders since Fluminense had not won a State for seven years.
"Now, we have already conquered the State, I find it easier to achieve this year. Fluminense has how many state titles? And the club has no Libertadores.
"Not to say that we will win as well. But we can be more successful with greater attention to the Libertadores, instead of getting divided. Got to prioritise, because the difficulty is much greater," he added.