Nigeria have no plans for Messi
Lars Lagerback insists Nigeria have no plans to do "a special job" on Lionel Messi when they face Argentina.
Last Updated: 12/06/10 8:53am
Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback insists his side have no plans to do "a special job" on Lionel Messi when they face Argentina in their World Cup opener.
Argentina boss Diego Maradona expressed his fears for the fitness of star man Messi and demanded that World Cup referees uphold fair play and protect flair players.
Lagerback, who will take charge of his first competitive game as Nigeria coach on Saturday, insists his side will not man-mark or try to kick Messi out of the game,
"We are playing Argentina, not Messi. So there will be no player given the special job to mark him," said Lagerback.
Lagerback led Sweden to a 1-1 draw against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup, a result which denied the South Americans a place in the last 16, and he is now hoping to repeat the trick with Nigeria.
"When you play really good teams like Argentina with a lot of really good individuals, you have to have a very good team performance, otherwise you don't win," added Lagerback.
"But for me football is a combination between the individual skills you have in the team and to try to organise the team as good as possible.
"When we have the ball we want to attack as much as possible, but of course with brains. But when we don't have the ball, we have to defend. And if the opponents are better, then we have to defend more than we attack."