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Football: Sabella says Messi allowed to speak out


Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella said Friday he has no problem with captain Lionel Messi questioning his cautious tactics in his side's 2-1 win over Bosnia to open their World Cup campaign.

Messi urged Sabella to stick with the 4-3-3 system used after half-time against the Bosnians in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday and he confirmed that the four-time World Player of the Year will get his way when Argentina face Iran on Saturday.

"Messi has said many times that he likes the 4-3-3 system. He didn't said anything new and he said it respectfully. It doesn't bother me at all," Sabella told reporters ahead of the clash against Iran in Belo Horizonte.

"We live in a cordial atmosphere with respect for everyone. There is a great spirit amongst the squad."

Messi came to life at the Maracana after the introduction of Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Gago in the second half. He scored just his second ever World Cup goal after a wonderful run and neat one-two with Higuain.

"We are Argentina and I think we need to concentrate on ourselves without fixating on who we are playing," the Barcelona star said after.

Higuain looks certain to start alongside Messi and Sergio Aguero as Argentina seek a win that will seal their place in the last 16.

However, Sabella rejected suggestions that he was merely bowing to the demands of his star man and suggested he could return to a more conservative system later in the competition.

"I speak with the players generally and it is good to have this back and forth," he said.

"I won't close the door on any possibility. The principal formation is the 4-3-3, but if we have to change we will change.

"If you are not critical of yourself then people say you are stubborn and, if you do, they say you are weak. One always acts thinking what is best for the team."