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Messi & Argentina will be at their best against Nigeria, claims Bielsa

08:45 BST 26/06/2018
marcelobielsa-cropped
The Albiceleste are facing being dumped out after a poor start, but could turn things around with a win in their final group stage match

Marcelo Bielsa is confident Argentina will turn around their shaky World Cup form when they face Nigeria in the final round of group matches on Tuesday.

Argentina are clinging to their place in the tournament after a 3-0 defeat to Croatia left them with one point from their two matches and needing a win over the Super Eagles to stand a chance of qualifying for the last 16.

Bielsa coached the Albiceleste from 1998 to 2004, winning 42 of his 68 games in charge, but failed to get out of the group stage at the 2002 World Cup.

The 62-year-old has since had spells with Chile, Athletic Bilbao and Marseille, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential coaches of the modern era.

Bielsa spoke to the media on Monday for the first time since being announced as the new Leeds United manager and was asked how he thought Argentina would react following their 3-0 defeat to Croatia.

"I think we're going to see the best of Argentina appearing from Tuesday. I firmly believe in the quality of the players and, in particular, Messi's leadership, which I think is going to come to the fore," he said.

"I think that the two matches that we've seen so far, the two performances, they'll use them as motivation to respond and put in place a style of play that the national team really wants to see. They'll learn from those two games in a positive way.

"I'm convinced that from tomorrow you're going to see a different performance and a different Argentina moving forward into the World Cup."

Argentina must beat Nigeria in their final Group D fixture on Tuesday, and hope that Iceland fail to beat Croatia, if they are to advance.