Sabella: Not a one-man team

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has rejected suggestions that his team are overly reliant on Lionel Messi ahead of their World Cup quarter-final with Belgium on Saturday.

Last Updated: 04/07/14 at 19:10 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Alejandro Sabella insists he is just part of the Argentina team

Lionel Messi: Alejandro Sabella insists he is just part of the Argentina team

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Messi helped to settle Argentina's last-16 tie against Switzerland with an extra-time assist for Angel Di Maria, but Sabella was eager to highlight the work of the rest of the team.

"Any team that has a player like Messi will greatly depend on him," Sabella said.

"But I believe that what he's doing is the work of the entire team. He's the best player in the world, but he's part of a team. The goal the other day came from a ball won by Palacio - a forward playing as a midfielder. 

"He gave it to Messi and Messi received it in a good position, which allowed him to pass the ball to Di Maria. Four years ago he was criticised. Now they say we depend on Messi too much. It's not easy."

Sabella accepts that his players will have to raise their game against Marc Wilmots's side in Brasilia.

"We have reasons for things, extenuating factors. But we have not reached the level we wanted to reach," he said. "We're looking for an improvement. But we've seen that this is a very difficult tournament with very even matches."

While Sabella admitted that he had already settled on his starting XI, he said that he had not yet informed the squad of his plans.

"I have not confirmed the line-up," he said. "I have it in my head, but I haven't discussed it with the boys. We've done recovery work for the past two days. I have an idea as to who the XI will be, but I have to discuss this with the players first."

Sabella also said that he would not be imitating Brazil counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari by setting up extra sessions with a psychologist in order to help his players keep a clear mind.        

"We handle things differently," he said. "Obviously these are two great teams, two powers, who have great pressures. But the pressure on Brazil is slightly greater because they are the home team."

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