Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has insisted that he ‘used everything he had’ at his disposal to get the best out of star man Lionel Messi .
La Albiceleste are heading home from the
World Cup following Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 defeat to France at the last-16 stage.
Sampaoli chopped and changed his tactics across Argentina’s four matches in Russia, as he did throughout qualifying, but in the end it was not enough as they came unstuck in Kazan.
Speaking at his post-match press conference Sampaoli, who is expected to be sacked in the coming days, defended his decision to use numerous different systems.
“I think that we adapted to necessity, rather than having a clear idea. We had a clear need and we had to win, that was our main goal,” he told reporters. “That was maybe stronger than our football concept.
“We have the best player in the world and we had to try to create collective situations to really use that player who can have many brilliant moments.
“We tried many different tactics, surround him, create space for him, so we tried to use everything we had to allow him to do what he can do.
“Sometimes we managed it, sometimes we didn’t. [The players] fought until the end and they nearly equalised at the end and that’s what I really, really value. They worked very hard and I want to say thank you.”
Messi has now played 756 minutes of football in World Cup knockout-stage matches without scoring a goal.