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Chile 21:00 Argentina

Masch denies Maradona unrest

Argentina captain insists squad relationship with coach was healthy

Last Updated: 03/08/10 2:32pm

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Mascherano: Backing Maradona

Mascherano: Backing Maradona

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Argentina captain Javier Mascherano has insisted player power did not force Diego Maradona from the manager's job.

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Maradona left his role as coach following the South American team's exit at the World Cup quarter-final stage where they suffered a 4-0 defeat to Germany.

The legendary figure was offered a new four-year deal to stay as manager, however was told he would have to change seven of his backroom staff.

The 49-year-old subsequently turned his back on the job, rejecting Argentina Football Assocation president Julio Grondona's demands.


Reports of a revolt in the dressing room surfaced despite a seemingly united front in training and on the pitch, however, Mascherano has moved swiftly to deny these claims.

"There was a climate of total harmony and in the years I have been with the national team I have never seen anything like it," he told Radio Rivadavia in Argentina.

"It hurts to see these things."

"I heard that we didn't respect Maradona and that is a lie," he said.

"I don't need to grab a microphone to back him. The best way to do it is on the pitch and in the training camp - each one of us did what we had to do."

The midfielder, who has been tipped to leave Liverpool this summer, says an analysis of what went wrong in the World Cup is now needed and believes Argentina need a real plan if they are to be successful in future.


"We have to analyse it - not just that match but the rest of the games as well," he said.

"The main thing is the project. It's fundamental to look for that and then see who the ideal person is to lead it (as coach).

"But we need a plan. Spain didn't win the Euro and the World Cup by chance. It's a project, from the youngest to the oldest."

In his role as captain, Mascherano will now sit down with Grondona to discuss the future of the national side.

"I will speak to Julio. We'll speak about lots of things, about everything that happened. There are young players who must stay on," he said.

"We are in a moment to start again from scratch. We can't carry on as we have been, otherwise we will be banging our heads against a brick wall in Brazil (in 2014)."

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