One of the many plus-points of Brazil coach Tite’s reign so far has been that his team is looking increasingly less dependent on Neymar.
Under previous coach Dunga there was endless talk of the Selecao’s Neymardependencia, as local media became increasingly concerned that there seemed to be a sense of ‘Neymar or bust’ for the struggling five-time world champions.
The PSG star is, of course, still vital to his nation’s hopes, but Tite has worked tirelessly to ensure other members of the team can step up and make the difference during matches in which Neymar is struggling to make the breakthrough.
A more cohesive unit has brought better performances from Neymar and, largely, seem him interact much more productively with his teammates.
Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Paulinho have all stepped up to hit vital goals time and again under the new boss, who has seen his side hit 35 goals in 15 matches.
Neymar stood head and shoulders above the rest in the goalscoring charts under Dunga, his tally of 11 goals leaving him way clear of the chasing pack, with the next four highest scorers (Willian, Renato Augusto, Roberto Firmino and Coutinho) all on four goals.
Under Tite, Gabriel Jesus leads the way with seven goals, just three short of Comebol World Cup qualifying top scorer Edinson Cavani despite playing only around two-thirds as many minutes as the Uruguayan.
Paulinho is not far behind, with six goals since his recall to international football. The shuttling midfield has been reborn with Brazil under Tite and hit the sole hat-trick of his career on a famous night in Montevideo as the Selecao dispatched Uruguay 4-1.
Neymar, meanwhile – who once again showed in the final qualifiers against Chile that he is playing more for the team – is still finding the net on a regular basis. The No.10 also his six since Tite’s arrival.
The PSG man could have ended a stunning counter-attack himself against Chile, but instead elected to roll the ball across the box Gabriel Jesus for a tap-in.
Philippe Coutinho is Brazil’s next highest score under the current boss, with four goals, but much of his focus has been in creating for others.
Willian and Diego Souza are the other players to have hit more than a single goal during Tite’s reign, and neither are now first-choice picks.
Brazil’s goals, then, are coming in droves, but mostly from their start quartet of Paulinho, Coutinho, Neymar and Jesus.
They will all be action this month as the Brasil Global Tour takes the Selecao to Europe for matches against Japan and England.