Lionel Scaloni is training all his players and held a press conference about the squad on Wednesday. Here is what he had to say:
“I decided for the team, not much will change from what happened in the last matches. We can always be surprised, especially considering that Ecuador is a good team, with a coach who will make them play well, and there are some measures to be taken. Based on that, the team may change tomorrow, but it will almost always be the same.
“After being together for a while, we know what we want. But this does not mean that we are certain of anything. The qualification will be very difficult, the level of the national teams has risen and we have to keep competing.
“It will not always be a bed of roses, there will be difficult times and we will have to be more united than ever. Everything is going well now and if it doesn’t continue like this, the group will make it.”
Scaloni also spoke about Lautaro Martínez and Julián Álvarez:
“I don’t remember if Lautaro and Julián started together, but I wouldn’t have any problems. They would play because although they are both strikers, they are different. Julian can play further back. Every team has to have a balance and we believe that they can play at times, but tomorrow it will be difficult for them to play together.
“They are both at a great level and the decision will be made with the good of the team in mind and what one or the other can give us. The best that can happen is that they are well and happy.”
The conversation he had with the players:
“The talk with the guys was that the past is gone, it was very nice, historic, but now it’s time to move on.” The DNA of a footballer and even more of an Argentinian player is to always try to win, to compete, which is what we told our players to continue to compete and be who we were. Let’s respect our opponents knowing that it will be more difficult now.”
As for the new players in the team:
“No one can sleep, this shirt and crest mean continuous improvement and we have a good opportunity to continue to be good. The players are doing well, we have a base that has been with us for a long time and we are adding players that we believe can improve the team and make it difficult for others.”
About Lionel Messi:
“Messi is happy and in the place where they want him.” Messi is fine, I see him happy. It is important that the player is happy no matter what country they are in.
“Messi will play as many minutes as he can play.”
About Enzo Fernández and Alexis MacAllister:
“Everyone plays differently in their teams. Few people play as well as in the national team. Alexis also plays a different position. In the case of Enzo, it is good that he can play further forward. On a one-by-one basis, others play differently on their teams and it’s good to have those options. I don’t rule out that he can do it with us.”
Lisandro Martínez and if he will play against Ecuador:
“Lisandro had a problem with his leg, he had an operation some time ago and felt discomfort in the last match. He’s had tests and he’s fine, it’ll be up to us if we risk it, it’s an uncomfortable area.
“We have teammates who can do it just as well and we don’t have to risk it. Basically, it’s too early for tomorrow’s game and we’ll see about the second one.”
Journey to Bolivia:
“Basically the same as last time. We travel on Sunday, which is two days before the game. There is no recipe to go to Bolivia, basically we think about tomorrow’s game, which is important, and then those who are 100% will go as usual, nobody will be out unless it is due to injury.”