Schäfer: No Pressure On Players
Schäfer Claims Brazil Players Are Pressure-Free Ahead of Copa América
Christian, the Copa América is almost upon us. How excited are you?
Christian Schäfer: "This is what I came to Brazil for; to be able to compete in tournaments of this magnitude. Of course I am very excited to be involved in one of the most competitive events of world football and every moment as manager of Brazil in the coming weeks will be an absolute pleasure, and a true honour."
Having not won a major competition in sixteen years now, is there an increased sense of pressure among the players?
Christian Schäfer: "No. Not at all. The players have been nothing short of fantastic in each and every game we have played in the last year. Everybody knows just how well we can perform when we hit top gear, and we are aware of our own abilities too. The players have shown a great deal of commitment and a top-notch work ethic every time we have come together and I could not be more proud of them. They are happy to be playing in a major tournament and there is no pressure on them, because all the pressure is on me. I am responsible for performances so whatever weight may be on the players' shoulders, I take that load. That is my responsibility."
Is there any news from the training camp regarding the players? Any injuries?
Christian Schäfer: "Yes, unfortunately. Zulu (GK) fractured his ribs and won't play any part in the Copa América. We've had to call up Felipe from Atlético Mineiro as a replacement. He has never played for Brazil but he will have his opportunity to impress against the United States in our warm-up game. He kept thirteen clean sheets in twenty appearances so far this season so he has been performing very well.
Unfortunately there have been a couple of other injuries. Fernandes (DC) sprained his ankle and will probably miss the entire group stage of the competition. If we play in the knock-out stages, he should be available to play some part in the tournament. Thiago Maia (DM) picked up a hernia during a weights session and will be on the sidelines for three or four weeks. We will not rush him back in to action but we hope that he will play some part in the tournament, if we reach the latter stages."
Your tactical approach since becoming Brazil manager has caused somewhat of a stir. Can you give us an insight in to what we can expect from your side?
Christian Schäfer: "We have played with three defenders in every game so far with great results, and so you can expect to see three defenders in my starting line-ups. Beyond our back line, we can play in a number of different ways. We can play with one striker, or two. We can play very narrow, very wide, or something in between. We can stack the midfield, or go search for goals. We can protect our defence, or we can harass the opposition's back line. The versatility in our tactical approach is something which we value highly and can make us almost unpredictable at times."
Christian Schäfer's Brazil Side Has Won Every Game With The German In Charge
Your former team Dynamo Dresden endured a disappointing season. How do you rate their performances under Thomas Tuchel?
Christian Schäfer: "It is fair to say that this season has been a difficult one for Dynamo. Finishing sixth in the Bundesliga just isn't good enough following three successive league titles. The Champions League performance was poor, getting knocked out of the group stage.
However, you have to consider that this is Dynamo's first season with a new manager, and it has not been easy for Thomas Tuchel to come in and work with a set of players which he did not put together himself. Tuchel is a fantastic manager and I believe that the future of Dynamo is bright under him. As a Dynamo fan, I hope that he can reach some major finals and win plenty of silverware in the future."
Where do you see yourself after the Copa América? You have been heavily linked with the vacant Ajax post. Do you have any interest in this role?
Christian Schäfer: "Wow, I am linked with Ajax? They are a truly massive club with a terrific history. I am quite flattered to be linked with them but for now my focus is solely on the Copa América. I don't know where I will be after the summer, but I am not thinking about it. We will compete in the Copa América and after our involvement is over, I will sit down with Ronaldo and Romário, the co-presidents of the Brazilian Football Association, and discuss my future with Brazil."
Do you have ambitions to win the World Cup with Brazil in three years time?
Christian Schäfer: "It is every manager's dream to win the World Cup. It is the one competition that unites the entire world of football, and lifting the trophy would crown you as the king of football. But as I said before, I'm not thinking about my future with Brazil beyond the Copa América just yet. For now, my focus is solely on what lies ahead of us."
Thank you for your time, Christian, and I wish you the best of luck for the upcoming fixtures.
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