Dorival Júnior shapes his project: “We have to learn to play without Neymar”

The coach claims that the Seleção must adapt to Neymar's absence to stop relying so much on the Brazilian star
Martín O'Donnell
2024-02-22 10:00:04

2024 will be a year of transition and changes for the Brazilian National Team, and that is something its current coach, Dorival Júnior, knows perfectly well. The former São Paulo manager took over in early January and will have to face the beginning of this year’s football calendar without one of the team’s greatest stars and legends: Neymar Jr.

The Al-Hilal winger is still recovering from a serious knee injury which will keep him off the pitch for practically the entire football year, including the Copa Américain June. Therefore, Dorival made it clear that one of the priorities of his project will be to learn to play without Neymar.


++ Dorival Júnior will resume his European observation tour at the end of the week
++ Alisson out for over a month: Dorival Junior confirms goalkeeper’s injury blow
++ New lease of life for the Seleção: profile and analysis of Dorival Júnior’s playing style

Dorival Júnior: “Without Neymar, everyone will have to take more responsibility”

In an interview with the media outlet BandSports, the coach was asked about Neymar’s situation, stating that his team will have to work hard and learn from this absence.

“We have to learn to play without Neymar. This, respecting that he is one of the greats of world football and realizing that with Neymar focused, trained, and prepared, the team is very strong. Without Neymar, it won’t be different, but naturally each of us will have to take on a bit more, to not leave all that responsibility, that excessive burden on a player like Neymar,” Dorival said.

However, to achieve this, Dorival hopes that the group will play their part to overcome Neymar’s absence and learn to play without him: “What I see is that we need that distribution of responsibilities, in which each one participates and takes on a bit more, and naturally develops their abilities. This, so that any absence of a player like Neymar can be compensated on the field.”

With these statements, it is clear that Dorival’s first major task at the helm of Brazil will be to make everyone forget about Neymar’s absence. This can only be achieved, according to his own words, when the selected players start to embrace more responsibilities to make things work.

Brazil may not have Neymar for the Copa América, and, precisely, the last time the Brazilian star missed this continental tournament was in the 2019 edition, which they won with Tite at the helm. Will Dorival manage to achieve the same kind of feat? Only time will tell.


Martín O'Donnell
Feb 09, 2024