Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has spoken out ahead of his team’s upcoming friendlies as they prepare for the Copa América. Speaking in an interview with Mundo Deportivo, the coach gave a little insight into his philosophy when it comes to building his team around Lionel Messi:
“It’s not a problem that they give the ball to him. The issue is that if they give it to him, other players have to move as well. It’s normal that they give him the ball, they always give it to him in the national team and for Barcelona. What does not help is if four or five are positioned too close to Leo. The challenge is for the players to spread across the pitch. This is what I’m aiming for. If we give it to him, another must move, or whoever gave it to him has to move and find space. You can’t stay there to play. Leo needs people going further up the pitch.”
Scaloni was asked about his side’s 3-1 loss to Venezuela, Messi’s only match under Scaloni:
“It was the first time they played with him and they scored against us almost immediately. I felt that they thought that Leo would resolve everything alone. But with our substitutions, things changed, they passed and moved. Everything will develop like this, in an organic manner.”
The manager also said that “on a day to day basis, in the dressing room, you have to approach Leo and start to treat him like a normal person” in order to develop a good relationship with him both on and off the pitch.