Soccer

Scolari says Brazil deserves jeers from fans

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SAO PAULO (AP)

Luiz Felipe Scolari abruptly got up and left the news conference after a question that followed Brazil's disappointing 2-2 home draw with Chile: Will you consider resigning if Brazil doesn't do well in the Confederations Cup?

''No answer. This is a joke!'' the visibly upset coach said, walking away.

Just five matches into his return to the national team, Scolari is already under pressure.

Four months ago, fans praised the return of the coach who led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title. But on Wednesday more than 50,000 fans loudly booed his team after the draw with Chile, disappointed with yet another poor performance by Brazil less than two months before the Confederations Cup.

And although Scolari emphatically dismissed the notion of quitting before next year's World Cup, he said his team deserves to be jeered and that he knows it's up to him to improve the squad and win back the fans in time for the warm-up tournament at home in June.

''It's normal for fans to react like that when the team doesn't play well,'' he said. ''If we had played better they would react better.''

The draw in the friendly against Chile kept Scolari with only one victory since his return - against minnow Bolivia.

Scolari said he is still trying to impose his style of play and that it's only to be expected for the team to struggle at this point. He said the only way to regain the fans' trust is to make the team play well again.

''The fans are not in sync with the national team because we are not in sync with ourselves yet,'' Scolari said. ''When we get the team ready, when we get more time to train and prepare the team ahead of the Confederations Cup, then we will be able to give the fans more reason to start trusting us again.''

Scolari used only players from Brazilian clubs in Wednesday's match, but the squad included Ronaldinho, Neymar and Alexandre Pato. Chile opened the scoring with Marcos Gonzalez in the seventh minute, defender Rever equalized in the 25th and Neymar put Brazil ahead in the 54th before Eduardo Vargas equalized in the 65th.

Fans constantly booed near the end, yelling ''Ole'' every time Chile had the ball.

''Felipao's team stuck in place,'' read a headline at the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper on Thursday.

''We have very tough fans here in Brazil,'' Ronaldinho said. ''They are used to seeing the team win, so it's normal for them to react like that.''

Neymar, touted as Brazil's top star, was one of the players to be heavily criticized after another poor performance, despite scoring on Wednesday.

''It's sad, but we have to get used to this here,'' the 22-year-old Santos player said. ''We can't worry about that, we have to keep working hard, it's all we can do.''

Brazilian media increased their criticism of Scolari after the coach said earlier this week that he will stick with two defensive midfielders in his team, saying that ''this story about having midfielders who can score is something good only for the press, it's not good for the coach or for the team.''

Critics expressed fear that Scolari will bring back a style focused on defense, contrary to Brazil's tradition of the ''Jogo Bonito,'' or the ''beautiful game.''

Since Scolari replaced Mano Menezes in December, Brazil has lost 2-1 to England, drawn 2-2 with Italy and 1-1 with Russia 1-1, and beaten Bolivia 4-0.

Wednesday's match was Brazil's last before Scolari announces his Confederations Cup squad. Brazil will still play friendlies against England and France before opening the warm-up tournament against Japan on June 15.

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