SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil players have criticized their own fans for the booing and jeering by supporters during a lackluster 1-0 win over South Africa in a friendly.
The loud booing by more than 50,000 fans at the Morumbi stadium could be heard for most of Friday's match, targeting both the players and coach Mano Menezes. The jeers began early in the first half as Brazil struggled and at times the fans even applauded South Africa.
"When you are playing at home you would expect to have the support from the fans but that's not what happened, unfortunately," Brazil right back Daniel Alves said. "If we had the fans behind us everything would have been easier, but that's not the mentality here. We have to understand that and just keep doing our job."
Players acknowledged the team didn't play the beautiful football its fans were hoping for. But they said that supporters needed to get behind Brazil ahead of the World Cup at home in 2014.
"We are used to getting this type of reaction when we play away from home, but we knew this was possible here too," goalkeeper Diego Alves said. "It's difficult to play with this type of pressure from our own fans, but I guess we better get used to it because we know the World Cup will be played here and there could be more then."
Brazil's winner on Friday came from substitute striker Hulk in the 75th minute.
"Not even superhero keeps fans from booing," read a headline at the O Globo newspaper on Saturday.
Young striker Neymar, the player expected to lead Brazil at the World Cup, heard the most jeers from fans. When he was substituted near the end, the crowd loudly chanted against him.
"The national team won but we still got booed, that's new for me," he said. "It's sad for something like this to happen, I think my resume should speak for itself, but that was not the case."
In addition to not playing well, as a Santos player Neymar was already at a disadvantage — playing in a city that's home to his team's three main rivals.
Fans in Sao Paulo have traditionally been tough on the national team, which is based in Rio de Janeiro and historically has had closer ties with that city. Brazil has often had more difficulties pleasing fans in the bigger football centers, including Rio, and it wasn't the first time the team got jeered at home.