Jefferson: I wasn’t expecting Brazil axe

Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson says he was surprised by coach Dunga’s decision to drop him from the side.

The Botafogo goalkeeper started in every game for which he was eligible during Dunga’s first 12 months back in charge of the Selecao, missing only the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour clashes with Turkey and Austria last year as the squad was restricted to foreign-based players.

He remained between the posts for this year’s Copa America campaign but was dropped for September’s two friendly matches and missed Brazil’s last three qualifiers after playing their opener against Chile last month.

“I am not saying I was wronged, that is perhaps too strong a word, but did not expect it given my numbers in the national team,” Jefferson, who conceded just twice in his first eight matches for the Selecao, told Sportv.

“Goalkeeping is a position that required the trust of the coach.

“I never used the press to accuse anyone of anything or defend myself, I just concentrated on performing on the pitch, and I think I have always shown my potential.

“I think I could have gotten a little more credit. My departure was perhaps not only due my performance in the game against Chile, so I was particularly sad. No player would want leave the team the way I left.”

Jefferson was criticised in some quarters for failing to keep out Eduardo Vargas’ opener for Chile in the 2-0 defeat in Santiago, after getting a hand to his close-range volley but failing to keep it out.

He was then replaced for the match against Venezuela by Internacional’s Alisson, who retained the role for his month’s draw with Argentina and victory over Peru. “[Vargas’ goal] was from a set-piece that could have been stopped,” Jefferson continued.

“I missed the chance to save it with my hand because it was very quick. The position of goalkeeper for Brazil has now changed and I have to accept that.

“When you save a penalty from Messi and makes great saves, however, we know you can catch a ball and that will help me to recover.”

Jefferson, who has led Botafogo to an automatic return back to Brazil’s top flight following last year’s relegation, went on to reveal that goalkeeping coach Taffarel broke the news that he was to be dropped.

“What made me more relaxed is that the day before the game, Taffarel said, ‘Alisson will play, but I want to tell you something: our confidence in you is the same, you’re an important guy in the team. It is the choice of Dunga, but we will not forget what you’ve done in the national team’.”

This month’s 3-0 victory over Peru was Brazil’s final clash of 2015.

The five-time world champions return to action in March next year when they host Uruguay in the fifth round of South American World Cup qualification.

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