Martino backs strike-force
Gerardo Martino has backed Paraguay's under-fire strikers ahead of Saturday's clash with Spain.
Last Updated: 01/07/10 10:30am
Gerardo Martino has backed Paraguay's under-fire strikers ahead of Saturday's World Cup quarter-final clash with Spain.
Paraguay have found the net only three times in four games as they have reached the last eight for the first time in their history.
Attacking trio Roque Santa Cruz, Lucas Barrios and Nelson Valdez have all failed to find the net but coach Martino believes it is wrong to lay all the blame on the side's strikers.
Instead, he believes they have not received the best service, while the negative approach of Paraguay's opponents has not helped their cause.
Martino said: "One mustn't be too hard on our strikers. If they aren't scoring well, maybe it's because the balls aren't arriving fast enough to them.
"To score goals, you need to receive the ball in advantageous positions. I wouldn't like to be unfair to the strikers.
"I also hope that our next opponents will allow us to play differently and it won't be simply down to us to dictate the game.
"Against Spain, we should have more space, because they play to win.
"In three of our games so far, we've had to take the game to our opponents."
Barrios, who netted 19 times in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund last season, insists results and not who scores is the priority.
He said: "The important thing is not who scores the goals, but that we formed a united squad which was capable of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in the history of Paraguay."
Santa Cruz added: "I think we're getting in positions and we're doing the right things.
"Some day things will start to fall for us - and hopefully it will be in the quarter-finals."