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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 6, 2006

Dunga happy with Brazil performance despite pressure

Brazil manager Dunga has revealed he is having sleepless nights - three games into his reign.

That may be hard to believe when you have some of the world's finest players at your disposal, but Dunga underlines just how much his life has changed now he is in control of the world's top-ranked side.

You would think it would be easy with world and European player of the year Ronaldinho at your command, and with AC Milan ace Kaka in your dressing room.

But Dunga said; 'When I was just a player it was so different.

'Then all I had to do was to look after myself, and I was in bed by 9pm each night without a care in the world.

'But now I am the manager I am worried all the time about everybody else, all the players. These days I sometimes don't get to sleep before 3am because I am worried about having the best players in the world in my squad.'

There are many international managers who would gladly swap a few nights` sleep for the chance to send Ronaldinho out into the international arena.

But Dunga is clearly taking his new responsibilities seriously.

Three games into his reign, things are going fine, he claims, having taken over following the disappointment of Brazil's World Cup quarter-final defeat by eventual finalists France.

That defeat, plus Argentina's surprise early exit, robbed the world of the final everyone wanted to see - Brazil v Argentina.

That came around this week in London when Brazil faced their oldest and closest foes in the unlikely surroundings of Arsenal's packed Emirates stadium.

And they turned on a super show, not least with Kaka's wonder goal, to secure a convincing 3-0 victory. Three days later they found a resilient, determined Wales a touch more difficult to suppress with Manchester United's Ryan Giggs their captain and inspiration.

But second-half goals from Marcelo on his debut and a fine header from Vagner Love allowed the Samba stars to turn on the style in front of a 20,000 crowd at White Hart Lane.

Dunga's first match in control was a 1-1 draw in Norway, and his verdict after the three game mini-tour of Europe was encouraging.

He said: 'We have gained a lot from these three games, on and off the field. The players showed great motivation and there was a very good atmosphere in the squad.

'I was pleased with the way the team played. Argentina attacked us and gave us space, which we used well.

'Wales closed up and didn't leave much space. Argentina played a more open game, it was nicer to watch. Wales were more cautious.'

He added: 'Over the three games on this tour we have improved in each match. We were not so good against Norway but got a draw, we were excellent against Argentina and when we got over a poor first half against Wales we produced much more pace and strength in our play and finally won that one.

'Our team has improved along the way. The defence has got better and looks solid and confident. Two clean sheets while we have been in England underlines that.

'As for how I am enjoying the job and how I am handling the change from player to manager, I suppose I have to be more sensible in the things I say and do and I need to think a lot before I talk.'

And Dunga was hugely impressed by the performance of Marcelo, the 18-year-old left-back on his debut.

The youngster broke the deadlock against Wales with a cracking long-range drive that would have done credit to Roberto Carlos, the man he is aiming to replace in the national side.

Dunga said: 'Marcelo has the temperament for internationals. I asked him in the hotel ahead of the Wales game whether he was ready for his debut, and he said `of course I am.'

'He did not surprise me in the way he played. I have watched him a lot and he has quality and technique. We always knew he had the ability to play at this level.

'And he is such a happy and pleasant young man. Always smiling and he enjoys it all.'

Dunga was also smiling after the Wales game, building a side very much in his own competitive image, as well as producing sublime passing football in the very best traditions of his nation.