Menezes says no added pressure because of Scolari
SAO PAULO (AP) -- Mano Menezes doesn't think his job as head of the Brazilian national team is in greater danger because World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is on the market again.
Menezes has been under pressure for some time because of Brazil's lackluster play as it prepares for the 2014 World Cup at home, and some fans and local media began calling for Scolari to take over the moment his contract with Brazilian club Palmeiras was terminated last week.
Menezes said he doesn't feel the situation has changed because Scolari is available, and noted that the end of Scolari's tenure with Palmeiras only shows that coaches in Brazil are never secure regardless of their experience or their successful past.
"I don't feel more or less pressured,'' Menezes said Tuesday, a day before Brazil faces Argentina in the Superclassic of the Americas, a two-legged series organized by the South American federation. "I respect all coaches. What happened just gives more support to the idea that we are all the same, losing or winning, we are fired, hired. ... It's always been like that.''
Scolari, who led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title in South Korea and Japan, never ruled out coaching the national team again, but had been dismissing any possibility of taking over the job because of his club contracts.
He never hid from anybody, either, that his goal after leaving Palmeiras at the end of 2013 was to coach a national team at the World Cup in Brazil. There have been reports of past negotiations with Colombia and Chile, but he said there had been no offers recently.
The 63-year-old Scolari coached Portugal to the final of the 2004 European Championship, as host, and to the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. He had a spell at Chelsea and Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor before returning to Palmeiras in July 2010.
He remains one of Palmeiras' biggest icons, coaching the club to some of its greatest triumphs, including victories in the 1998 Brazilian Cup and the 1999 Copa Libertadores.
He led Palmeiras to the 2012 Brazilian Cup title just two months ago, giving the club its first major trophy since the 1999 Copa Libertadores, but the team has struggled in the Brazilian league and is second-to-last in the 20-team standings, in the relegation zone and eight points from safety with 13 matches left.
The moment Scolari and Palmeiras announced his contract was being terminated, his name immediately made headlines as the main candidate to replace Menezes if Brazil falters in the next few matches.
"The coach needs to be able to deal with that kind of pressure,'' Menezes said. "It's part of our job. You have to be able to remain in control despite all of that.''
Criticism over Menezes increased significantly after he failed to lead Brazil to the Olympic gold medal despite having most of his top players available at the under-23 tournament in London. Brazil lost the final to Mexico at Wembley.
He was heavily jeered by fans in Sao Paulo when Brazil struggled in a 1-0 win over South Africa in a friendly two weeks ago, but Brazil rebounded a few days later with an 8-0 thrashing of China.
"We have a difficult job to do, but we are confident that we are doing the right thing,'' Menezes said.
Brazil will play the second leg of the Superclassic of the Americas on Oct. 3 in the interior Argentine city of Resistencia. The five-time world champions will then play a friendly against Iraq in Sweden on Oct. 11, and Japan five days later in Poland.
Only players from local clubs in Argentina and Brazil play in the Superclassic of the Americas, which is organized by CONMEBOL.
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