Sampaoli makes case for two-man Argentina defence

Lionel Messi might be missing from Argentina's friendly in Singapore but Jorge Sampaoli is ready to field numerous attackers in his absence.

Argentina won its first game under the former Sevilla boss when it beat rival Brazil 1-0 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.   -  Getty Images

Jorge Sampaoli hopes to see evidence of aggressive defensive play from Argentina as he prepares to send out a remarkably attacking line-up for Tuesday's friendly with Singapore.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference, Sampaoli discussed his widely reported switch to a lesser-spotted 2-3-4-1 system in Kallang, with centre-backs Federico Fazio and Emanuel Mammana the only two recognised defenders in the speculated starting XI.


Argentina won its first game under the former Sevilla boss when it beat rival Brazil 1-0 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sampaoli hopes an unusual set-up versus Varadaraju Sundramoorthy's side will help to show him how adept certain squad members are when it comes to adapting to his aggressive pressing style.

"There's the possibility that there's two central defenders with one back up," he said. "The defence of the team are the 10 players, just like the match against Brazil showed.

"What we will be looking for in this game will be the development of defensive organization, which has a lot to do with pressuring to recover the ball immediately.

"In the game against Singapore what we can do is be very aggressive defensively with the 10 players on the field."

Much to the disappointment of some fans in Singapore, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will miss the game as he is rested alongside Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain and Manchester City defender Nicholas Otamendi.

Despite reports in Spain that Messi is closing in on concluding a lucrative new deal at Barcelona, Sampaoli insists his captain's absence is purely to avoid injury risks at the end of a long season.

"They have had long seasons and played a lot of games so we felt it was best to let them go for this game as it would have been risking injury to make them play tomorrow," he added.

"But we have a variety of attackers and that means we can experiment against Singapore. We have many offensive players and I want to know how well they can also play defensively.

"It's important to know how enthusiastic they are at trying to win the ball back when we lose possession. It's all about the development of our ideas for every position in the future."

Lazio midfielder Lucas Biglia will captain Argentina in the absence of Messi and his Barca colleague Javier Mascherano.

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