Argentina will revert to Lionel Messi’s much-favoured 4-3-3 set up in their penultimate Group F game against Iran on Saturday, after the team captain’s criticism of Alejandro Sabella’s tactics in the opening win over Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Messi felt Sabella’s choice of starting with five defenders in last Sunday’s victory over debutantes Bosnia troubled him and fellow marksman Sergio Aguero a bit. Consequentially, the South Americans began to look impressive in the second-half, after the coach had reverted to the usual 4-3-3 formation.
Sabella insists he has no problems with his team`s most important player speaking out.
“I was not hurt by Leo’s comment and he has said that before,” Sabella told Fifa.com. “He likes to play 4-3-3 with (Angel) Di Maria up front.
“He was asked how he likes to play and he answered what he thinks in a respectful way. We respect each other, we have a very strong team spirit. It is good to have an open dialogue with my players. Sometimes players learn from us the coaches and sometimes we learn from them.
“We can all make mistakes you know. Tomorrow we will start with a 4-3-3 formation and we will take it from there. We may have to change the formation or not.”
Messi, who has scored 21 goals in his last 21 international appearances, and Manchester city’s Aguero, will most likely be partnered by Angel Di Maria or Gonzalo Higuain on the front line in the clash with an Carlos Queiroz’s Iran, whose defensive play turned out a hard nut for Nigeria to crack in Monday’s goalless draw.
“As strikers we prefer that system as it gives us more attacking opportunities and if we don’t use that system we suffer a bit,” said the Barcelona star.
“We as strikers favour that line-up. In the first half I was often on my own and so was Kun (Aguero) and it was very difficult, so there are things to be improved on.”
An Argentina win in Belo Horizonte means the two-time champions are through to the second round with a game to spare.