FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is not getting too excited despite Brazil's second consecutive win at the Confederations Cup, acknowledging that his team didn't play well and still needs to improve if it wants to contend with the likes of Spain and Italy.
Scolari is satisfied with the team's start and is glad that Brazil has secured a spot in the next round, but he says his team gave too many chances away to Mexico despite a 2-0 win on Wednesday.
Players also admitted that Brazil struggled more than it should have against Mexico, but are optimistic that there's still time for the team to get better at the World Cup warm-up tournament. Brazil opened with a 3-0 victory over Japan.
"We know that we have to improve," right back Daniel Alves said. "It wasn't perfect but we had some good things going for us. It's important that we are getting better game after game."
Neymar put Brazil ahead with a goal less than 10 minutes into the match at the Arena Castelao, but the Selecao wasn't able to seal the victory until an injury-time goal by substitute striker Jo.
"In general, we were not able to play as well as we did against Japan," Scolari said. "We know we have to do more than this, but it was a good victory and it gives us a chance to advance and stay on track to get to the final."
The coach said that Brazil had a good start on Wednesday but was not able to keep playing at the same level for the rest of the match and ran the risk of conceding an equalizer.
"Mexico had two or three great chances to score," Scolari said. "We have to work to try to fix that. When our players on the flanks moved up we didn't get enough protection from the defensive midfielders and that caused problems. We will have to talk with the players about that before the match against Italy."
He said Brazil began struggling in the middle of the first half after defender David Luiz injured his nose during a struggle for the ball and had to leave the field so doctors could stop the bleeding.
"We struggled more than we would've liked to struggle today (Wednesday)," Brazil captain Thiago Silva said. "After David left the field it was difficult and when he came back it still looked like we were a man down."
Scolari said it's already expected Brazil will face more difficulties against the Italians in the final group match in Salvador. Italy rallied to beat Japan 4-3 later on Wednesday.
"It worries me because we will be playing against a team with a lot of experienced players," he said. "But we are better now, so I'm not as worried as I was three months ago."
Scolari, who led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title, returned to the national team in December and won only one of his first six matches with the national team. But now Brazil has won three in a row, including a friendly against France before the Confederations Cup.
The match against Mexico, which had beaten the Brazilians twice in the last two matches, marked the first time since 2007 that Brazil fielded the same 11 starters in three consecutive matches.
Brazil is a two-time defending champion at the Confederations Cup. It hasn't won a significant tournament since the 2009 edition of the warm-up competition.
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