“I don’t believe in statistics; Ecuador is a very well-trained team,” warned Scaloni

“I don’t believe in statistics; Ecuador is a very well-trained team,” warned Scaloni
“I don’t believe in statistics; Ecuador is a very well-trained team,” warned Scaloni

Argentine national football team coach Lionel Scaloni gave his usual pre-match press conference. This time, he spoke in the run-up to the Copa America quarter-final match against Ecuador, scheduled for this Thursday at 10 pm (Argentine time) in Houston, United States.

The focus was on the possibility of having Lionel Messi, who is affected by a muscle problem. “We will wait for today’s training session (Wednesday) to make a decision about Messi. One more day is always better, yesterday (Tuesday) we had good feelings,” said the native of Pujato, Santa Fe. “We will try to have Leo (Messi) in. If not, we will look for the best for the team,” he added.

He also referred to his suspension for coming on late to play the second half against Chile. The sanction, which included a fine, prevented him from being on the bench against Peru, in the closing match of Zone A (victory by 2 to 0). “When you are the coach you want to be close to your players. What happened in the last match was a strange situation, we hope it doesn’t happen again. It has happened to several coaches, unfortunately,” he warned.

Regarding the plan to face the Ecuadorian team, he said: “We will look for a way to hurt our rival, that is always our way.” And he did not pay attention to Argentina’s advantage in the history. “I do not believe in statistics. Ecuador is a very well-trained team, it has very good players and a good coach,” he said.

The historical figures favor the Albiceleste, the last Copa América and World Cup champions. In the clashes between the two teams, Argentina won 24 matches, Ecuador 5, and the remaining 11 ended in draws.

Uruguayan Andrés Matonte will be the referee for Argentina-Ecuador in the quarter-finals of the Copa América.

On another note, he spoke about the work of the Argentine coaches: four of them managed to qualify by winning their groups. “The South American teams pay a lot of attention to the Argentine coaches and that’s good. I know them and they are good people, I’m glad they’re doing well,” said Scaloni about Marcelo Bielsa (Uruguay), Fernando Batista (Venezuela) and Néstor Lorenzo (Colombia).

In addition, the Argentina coach praised Mac Allister, one of his most versatile midfielders, with whom he shared the press conference. “There are a lot of players who play in different areas of the pitch. Alexis (Mac Allister) can play in two or three different positions, he can attack and score. That is why he sometimes plays further forward or further back. He is an intelligent player and we like that,” he stressed.

Regarding the centre forward and the possibility of playing with two number nines, the coach said: “Lautaro (Martínez) and Julián (Álvarez) are in good form. Both were able to score. Hopefully they continue this streak. We are very satisfied with the contribution of both.”

Finally, Scaloni recalled the friendly match Argentina won against Ecuador, 1-0 (goal by Ángel Di María), on June 9 in Chicago. “The games are not the same, you have to look for different ways to do damage. I don’t think it’s good or bad to know Ecuador and to have faced them so recently,” he concluded.

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