Argentina Coach Jorge Sampaoli hits back at critics

Jorge Sampaoli has hit back at those criticising him and has rubbished the notion that Lionel Messi has more influence in the dressing room than he does.

The Argentina manager was ridiculed when touchline footage from his side’s 2-1 victory over the Super Eagles appeared to show him seeking Messi’s permission to make a substitution.

The former Sevilla boss’ critics took this as confirmation that Messi is actually calling the shots in the Argentina camp amid rumors of a dressing-room mutiny, but Sampaoli has insisted that this is not the case.

“I remember that conversation with Leo very well, but everything I mention to my players is personal and I won’t make it public,” The Mirror quotes the 58-year-old as saying.

“It was a simple exchange. It wasn’t how it’s been characterized.

“I was saying to him we would be using some of the strategies we had spoken about to have more attacking players on the pitch. That is all.

“Will I continue as the coach? Well, I have a contract and I am quite happy to be here. As long as I can fight to be here, I will fight every day.”

Argentina have been drawn against France in the knockout stage of the World Cup.

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