Bielsa confident Argentina will bounce back

Marcelo Bielsa is confident Argentina will bounce back against Nigeria after a shaky start to the World Cup.

New Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa.   -  Getty Images

Marcelo Bielsa is confident Argentina will turn around its shaky World Cup form when it faces Nigeria in the final round of group matches on Tuesday.

Argentina is clinging to its place in the tournament after a 3-0 defeat to Croatia left it with one point from its two matches and needing a win over the Super Eagles to stand a chance of qualifying for the last 16.

Bielsa coached the Albiceleste from 1998 to 2004, winning 42 of his 68 games in charge, but failed to get out of the group stage at the 2002 World Cup.

The 62-year-old has since had spells with Chile, Athletic Bilbao and Marseille, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential coaches of the modern era.

Bielsa spoke to the media on Monday for the first time since being announced as the new Leeds United manager and was asked how he thought Argentina would react following the 3-0 defeat to Croatia.

"I think we're going to see the best of Argentina appearing from Tuesday. I firmly believe in the quality of the players and, in particular, Messi's leadership, which I think is going to come to the fore," he said.

"I think that the two matches that we've seen so far, the two performances, they'll use them as motivation to respond and put in place a style of play that the national team really wants to see. They'll learn from those two games in a positive way.

"I'm convinced that from tomorrow you're going to see a different performance and a different Argentina moving forward into the World Cup."

Argentina must beat Nigeria in its final Group D fixture on Tuesday, and hope that Iceland fails to beat Croatia, if it is to advance.

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