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Arthur relief as Brazil boss says Barcelona midfielder is 'fine' after knee blow

4:54 PM MYT 10/06/2019
arthur - cropped
Tite has been handed a Copa America boost, with it revealed that a setback suffered by a key man turned out to be nothing more than a minor knock

Brazil boss Tite is optimistic midfielder Arthur will be fit for the Copa America after an injury scare.

The Barcelona player was caught by a poor challenge from Honduras winger Romell Quioto, who was sent off, during Brazil's 7-0 friendly victory.

Although Arthur was treated before being substituted, concerns about the state of his affected knee were soon allayed by coach Tite.

He said to reporters: "Arthur is fine. I spoke to him. He told me it was just a knock. And I saw in his face that he is well.

"I don't want to second-guess the doctor, he'll confirm all this for you, but from his mood, I saw it was just a knock."

Hosts Brazil begin their Copa America campaign against Bolivia on Friday in Sao Paulo, with star man Neymar already ruled out of the tournament by injury.

They then face Venezuela and Peru as they seek a first continental triumph since 2007.

The last thing that the Selecao need before their latest trophy quest gets underway is to see more key men ruled out.

Tite is already having to work out how to counter the loss of Neymar.

His Paris Saint-Germain team-mate, Thiago Silva, has suggested that Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho will be the man Brazil look to for inspiration.

He told reporters: "Coutinho had a difficult season in Barcelona. It was demanding and they booed him many times, but here in the team he is our reference, especially when we don't have Neymar.

"Coutinho calls for the game. In the two friendlies we played he was the best player on the pitch, not only because of passes and goals, but also with his defence. He is finding his happiness again.

"I'm very happy and not at all comfortable talking about this player because we are very close.

"We need him, especially now with the absence of Neymar."

Brazil called up Chelsea winger Willian to replace Neymar in their Copa America squad.