Batista aims to stake Argentina claim

Argentina will use Wednesday night's friendly with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin to rid from their system their horrifying World Cup exit.

Last Updated: 10/08/10 at 16:58   

Batista: Argentina caretaker coach

Batista: Argentina caretaker coach

That was the message from caretaker manager Sergio Batista who has set his sights on a victory he hopes will help secure him the role on a permanent basis.

Batista has stepped into the shoes of Diego Maradona after the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) chose not to renew his contract in the wake of a 4-0 World Cup quarter-final defeat by Germany.

However, despite leading Argentina to the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, Batista is viewed as an outsider for the position.

Carlos Bianchi, the only manager to win four Copa Libertadores titles, is favourite, although the 61-year-old has turned down an approach to manage the national team on three previous occasions.

Current Estudiantes manager Alejandro Sabella, who played for both Sheffield United and Leeds from 1978 through to 1981, is also in the running.

Boca Juniors coach Claudio Borghi and Racing Club boss Miguel Angel Russo are also in the running for a position that is unlikely to be filled until December given the extensive committee process adopted by the AFA when it comes to appointing a new manager.

But as the man in the hot seat, Batista at least has a chance to stake his claim, starting with the game with the Republic at their new £350million Aviva Stadium.

"I'd prefer it if I was judged not on one game but a whole project, which might stretch from now to 2014," said Batista, referring to the World Cup in Brazil that year.

"I'd also like to be judged on what I've achieved in the national set-up on a whole to now.

"But the job is something I'd like to look at over a long period of time and not on just this one game against Ireland."

Batista's first task will be to work on the psychology of players almost certain to still be mentally scarred from the Germany loss.

"What I'm happy about is that everybody has come here with great desire," added the 1986 World Cup winner.

"The players are still smarting from the defeat to Germany - that really hurt.

"But then you are not a real footballer if something like that does not still hurt you after a few weeks and months.

"So this is a real opportunity to get that day out of our system.

"It was one game after all, and you can't put to one side what the team had achieved before that. We played some great football up to that point.

"So what I think is going to happen is that tomorrow will be a real show, with both sides trying to play football. The fans are going to be in for a real treat."

Manchester City star Carlos Tevez is with the squad, but unlikely to play due to a sore throat, whilst Atletico Madrid forward Sergio Aguero is also a doubt as he is carrying a slight knock.

Despite that, Batista has no complaints about the application of his players, although he already knows many of them from working with them at age-group level and at the Olympics.

"I'm really pleased to say that up to now as a manager they have made it really easy for me," said Batista.

"I've been having lots of little chats with individuals and small groups of players and I am trying to emphasise that this is a new start.

"It's up to me now to convince them they are still a good side.

"The good thing is they have all come here ready to do what they have always done for the shirt - which is try hard and play well."

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