Sabella aiming to ease pressure on Messi

Argentina head coach Alejandro Sabella wants to relieve some of the pressure on star man Lionel Messi at the FIFA World Cup.

The country's talisman and captain has delivered two moments of supreme quality at the finals in Brazil so far, to help Argentina take maximum points from their first two games.

After relatively quiet showings against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran, Messi produced trademark glorious finishes in each game to see his country safely through to the second round.

Although Sabella concedes it is understandable that much focus falls on Messi, the coach warned that the team must do their utmost to share the burden.

"There is always a dependency with a player like Messi," he said in a press conference on Tuesday.

"We have to sometimes try and make it less, but the dependency always exists.

"We must try to release Messi of the pressure.

"We are a team and we all have to help."

With just a point needed to secure top spot in Group F, Argentina look well-placed to enter the last 16 in good spirits, but Sabella has warned of the threat posed by Wednesday's opponents Nigeria.

"We are going to face a different test," he said. "Nigeria have potential.

"They go forward very quickly and are very strong. We must improve more to find more mobility to find spaces."


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