Argentina boss opens up on Lionel Messi’s impact on the team

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has opened up on the impact of Lionel Messi on the pitch. Scaloni also hinted that he may rotate the squad for Argentina’s next Copa America game against Bolivia.

Scaloni made six changes to his Argentina side that claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Uruguay for the Paraguay encounter. Argentina ultimately came away with another scrappy 1-0 win which helped them qualify for the knockout rounds of the Copa America.

Argentina’s latest victory will allow them to give some fringe players the chance to represent their country at Copa America. La Albiceleste will face Bolivia in their final group game of the tournament.

In a post-match press conference, Lionel Scaloni spoke about his side’s performance in their game against Paraguay, and revealed how much the team relies on the exploits of talismanic forward Lionel Messi.

“What I’m worried about today is the physical conditions of the players. The conditions were not the best to play in. The second half is also a credit to Paraguay. Obviously there are things to improve on, like in every match,” said Scaloni.

Most fans and pundits believed that Barcelona star Lionel Messi would be rested for the game against Paraguay to manage his workload. The 33-year-old, however, played the entire 90 minutes for Argentina, which revealed how much Lionel Scaloni relies on the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“The reality is that Lionel Messi has come here having played every match and it’s very difficult not to count on him. I believe the match in which we got scored on were key moments. Defensively, the team is well. Today, there were players that worked very well for the team.

“It’s a possibility that in the next match we rotate. Having qualified gives us peace of mind. Now we have to recover and train,” Scaloni added.

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Argentina can take the positives from their defensive showings but will need more from Lionel Messi to win Copa America

Argentina v Paraguay: Group A - Copa America Brazil 2021
Argentina v Paraguay: Group A – Copa America Brazil 2021

Argentina have conceded just one goal in the Copa America 2021 group stage so far. Lionel Scaloni will therefore be thrilled with the solidity his defense has shown in recent weeks.

Argentina will, however, need to improve in attack. Lionel Messi and his teammates have scored just two goals from open play in their three Copa America games so far.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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