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Jun 25, 2014

Lionel Messi not over-relied on - coach

The ESPN FC crew discuss Argentina's World Cup potential and Lionel Messi's overall impact on the team.

Alejandro Sabella has denied Argentina are over-dependent on captain Lionel Messi -- but stressed that his side must improve their overall performances if they are to win the World Cup.

- Cox: Messi, Sabella now in tactical tandem
- Delaney: Messi embodies Argentina
- Lionel Messi can spark glory -- Zanetti

Solo Messi goals against Bosnia and Iran have brought maximum points from two under-par Argentina displays, leading some to suggest that the Albiceleste are relying too much on the Barcelona attacker.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's final Group F game against Nigeria in Porto Alegre, Sabella told Ole: "Always when there is a player like Lionel, there is a dependence.

"We have to try and minimise that. There is pressure that comes from being an extraordinary player. We will try to free him. We are a team. We try to help among us all. We want it to continue like this. We must take advantage of the situation."

Even though Argentina's two opening wins have secured their qualification for the round of 16, Sabella said he would not make too many changes for the game.

"We will play 4-3-3, but I do not have the 11 [yet]," he said. "We will wait a bit on the recovery of some players. I am not one for making a lot of changes. I look for players who are confident, but you must have the others ready. You never know when you will need them."

The former Estudiantes manager said he was confident his side would play better as the tournament progressed, and said he wanted to see more movement from Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria.

"We can all improve," he explained. "There must be movement to find spaces. The four up front need to rotate. We must improve, but the criticism does not worry me. The only thing that concerns me is to continue in the World Cup.

"We have won two games and are qualified for the last 16. We must look at the two sides, not just the negative. Sometimes problems are made public, other times no... I am confident because the players give 100 percent in every training session."

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