Belfast Telegraph

Mascherano plays down rumours of revolt

By Paul Burrows

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano has claimed the team's relationship with coach Jorge Sampaoli is "just like normal" despite rumours of a player revolt at the World Cup.

Following Argentina's 3-0 defeat to Croatia which left them battling to avoid elimination from the World Cup at the group stage there were reports that the coach would be sacked and the team selection for the final group game against Nigeria on Tuesday would be decided by the players.

But at a press conference on Sunday Mascherano said the players had raised their concerns at a meeting with Sampaoli.

The Hebei China Fortune midfielder said: "The relationship with Sampaoli is totally normal, but if we feel uncomfortable, we will raise it, otherwise we would be hypocrites.

"The opposite would be to harm the team, we must seek the collective benefit, we are 23, also those of the squad.

"We are not playing well and we take charge of the results. We will not be responding to things that others do."

Mascherano revealed that at the meeting with Sampaoli the coach had sought the views of his players.

"At the meeting, we talked about football to help us and get this out of the game, we have to make positive things, there's a lot of myth in the meetings, the best technicians ask the players for advice too, because we are the ones who decide in the field," added the former Barcelona player.

"The coach is the one who gives us the tools alone to be comfortable in the field but you have to talk, it happens in all places, also in Barca.

"He wants to know what happens to you on the field to be able to make decisions, they are basic soccer concepts."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph