Messi, Sabella now in tactical tandem

“It’s a peculiar lark, this football management. Use a system that doesn’t suit your best players, and you’re considered an inflexible ideologue. Tweak your system to get the best players in the role they’re happiest, and you’re criticised for having no backbone. Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella and his captain, Lionel Messi, have been criticised this week, after Sabella supposedly bowed to Messi’s demands for the game against Iran. Having played a 5-3-2 system in their opening match against Bosnia, Sabella switched to a 4-3-3 for the Iran contest. It’s tough to work out which criticism is sillier — the idea that Sabella is weak for listening to Messi, or the idea Messi was unprofessional for pointing out the obvious. The reality is simple: Argentina’s use of a 5-3-2 against Bosnia was the managerial cock-up of the tournament so far.” ESPN – Michael Cox


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