Messi didn't criticise Sabella's tactics - Andujar

The Catania goalkeeper says the Barcelona forward was merely expressing an opinion when he told reporters that Argentina should have stuck to 4-3-3 on Sunday in the Maracana
By Ben Hayward in Belo Horizonte

Lionel Messi was merely expressing an opinion and not criticising the tactics of coach Alejandro Sabella when he spoke about the win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday, says Argentina goalkeeper Mariano Andujar.

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Messi scored a wonder goal which turned out to be decisive as the Albiceleste ran out 2-1 winners at the Maracana, but only after Sabella had ditched his surprise 5-3-2 formation from the first half.

That system saw Messi struggle and he was forced to drop deep to link up with his team-mates in the opening 45 minutes.

A return to 4-3-3 after the break brought significant improvement and Messi netted the second after a remarkable run and one-two with striker Gonzalo Higuain.

"We are Argentina," Messi said in a press conference on Monday. "We shouldn't be looking at how our rivals play. All I care about is that we play well. I prefer 4-3-3 and I feel more comfortable with more players further forward."

Those words have been interpreted by some as a criticism of Sabella's tactics and a perceived fixation with stopping the rival instead of focusing on their own style.

But Andujar, who is Argentina's second keeper, told reporters at a press conference outside Belo Horizonte on Wednesday: "Messi didn't object to the coach's tactics, he just gave an opinion. There is nothing more to it. Everyone is entitled to say what they think and it's something that can help us improve."

On the switch from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3, the Catania goalkeeper added: "Alejandro will have seen that something wasn't working and that's why he changed it. He's an intelligent coach and he changed the course of the game.

"My personal opinion is that focusing on ourselves is much better, but it's true that your rivals can make things difficult, so it's a positive thing to be able to play with several different systems."