Brazil coach Dunga hailed hat-trick hero Philippe Coutinho for delivering his Liverpool club form in the colours of the Selecao after he inspired the team to a 7-1 victory over Haiti at the Copa America Centenario.
Two of Coutinho’s goals were beautifully struck long-range efforts and he was a constant threat throughout the one-sided game with his movement and ability on the ball.
“We have talked quite a lot to him about being the ‘Liverpool Coutinho’ - to take the initiative, be a leading part of the team, all within his own style,” said Dunga, the former 1994 World Cup-winning captain.
“He is really taking advantage of the opportunities he has been given. After his first goal you could see him gain confidence and a player with confidence is always going to be better,” he added.
Prior to Tuesday’s win, Coutinho had only scored one goal for Brazil, last year in a friendly against Mexico.
But it is clear to his teammates that he is beginning to make a real impression in the national team set-up.
Coutinho, playing in an advanced role on the left, linked up well down the flank with Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis who believes they compliment each other well.
“I think he plays better, close to their defensive line, because he can easily open them up with his dribbling skills. I’ve got to know him better and so I can help him. I think where he is playing on the left side is perfect,” said Luis.
“He is a brilliant guy, a humble guy and I think he can achieve anything he wants because it only depends on him - we are very honoured to play with him,” he added.
Coutinho had opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a long-range effort, his second was a simple tap-in and his hat-trick was completed in the final moments of the game with a spectacular bending strike from 25 yards out.
“We knew we had to try more shots from distance and this was something we improved on over the last game,” said Coutinho, referring to the goalless opener with Ecuador.
The Liverpool player said that Dunga had given him free reign to attack and had asked him for more goals.
The 23-year-old now hopes that Brazil can progress deep into the tournament.
“I think we have to dream big and think of the final,” he said.