Pato close to best, says former coach

Rio de Janeiro: Alexandre Pato is on the cusp of recapturing his best form after his first injury-free year since 2009, according to the striker`s former youth coach.

The 24-year-old scored just nine goals from 30 league appearances for Corinthians following his 15 million-Euro move from AC Milan in January, reported a leading agency.

Osmar Loss, Pato`s former head trainer at the youth academy of Brazilian top-flight club Internacional, said criticism of the Selecao forward`s form was unwarranted.

"His performance was well below what he is capable of, but even so he is back on an upward curve," Loss told Brazilian sports newspaper Gazeta Esportiva.

"I think this season was a lot better than his last two or three in Europe because he went through the whole year without an injury."

Pato, who regained his place in Brazil`s national team in September, has been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur in January.

But Loss, now coach of Corinthians` under-20s, urged the former prodigy to remain at the Sao Paulo club in 2014.

"I strongly believe he can get back to his best next season if he decides to stay at the club," Loss said, adding that Pato had been unfairly vilified for a missed penalty against Gremio in October.