Sunday’s Brasileirão game against América Mineiro resembled last Thursday’s Brazil Cup quarterfinal away leg against Bahia: Palmeiras not taking advantage of their more skilled players, not converting any of the chances created and even blowing a penalty (Bruno Henrique against Bahia and Jean today against América). The primary difference from one game to the other was the line-up: against Bahia, our normal starting eleven; against América, only three regulars (Weverton, Moisés and Borja). Felipão is clearly testing the squad, while also resting a few key players ahead of the upcoming Libertadores clash.
Naturally, one cannot expect much from a coach that arrived the other day, neither really blame the players, adopting to their new commander’s wishes. It is what it is. Sort of goes with swapping the coach mid-season. Or “changing a tire with the car in motion” as one says over here. In any case, Scolari was reasonably pleased with what he saw against América. “We did not get the result we wanted, but tactically I really enjoyed the performance of the men. Everything went right. Just the goal was left out. From Friday to Saturday we mostly talked, on Saturday there was a tactical training session and now comes the day-to-day evolution, which I enjoy. Expect a well-organized team. Expect a tough team. Our players want to win, but they need a push, something that makes them believe more in coming out victorious”, Scolari told reporters after the game.
One positive aspect is that Palmeiras – after five rounds suffering goals in each game – have not conceded in the last three. It would be terrific to sustain that streak beyond Thursday, returning from Paraguay with at least the one point against Cerro Porteño.
Back to the Brasileirão, Sunday’s draw left Palmeiras in 6th with 27 points, eight behind new leader São Paulo, with 21 more rounds to go in the championship. As for the Brazil Cup, the return game against Bahia, worth a spot in the Brazil Cup semi-finals, takes place on 16 August.
As one can see, little time for training or anything else for that matter: it’s basically do or die twice a week all through August. Buckle up.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!