Buenos Aires, Oct 9: New Argentina coach Alex Sabella says his side have laid their Lionel Messi "psychosis" to rest after opening their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-1 win over Chile on Friday.
Barcelona superstar Messi was at his majestic best – following on from some below-par showings in the national shirt – scoring once in a display which saw the Argentinians cast off the demons of a failed July Copa America campaign on home turf.
Messi, who scored goals for fun as Barcelona terrorised teams at home and in Europe all season, cut a dejected figure at the Copa, save for a fine group phase showing against Costa Rica, and that prompted some observers to ask if he would ever really fit into the national team.
But after his performance on Friday Sabella insisted things were now clicking.
"This goal will be important for Lionel to lay to rest this apparent collective psychosis that he can't do the business with Argentina," said Sabella, who succeeded Sergio Batista after the Copa America.
"But this (scoring) is not a worry anyway as he is always extraordinary and if he does not score he comes up with the move which enables someone else to," Sabella observed.
Messi notched the second goal and was generally a thorn in Chilean flesh although many of the plaudits went to Gonzalo Higuain, the Real Madrid striker netting a hat-trick at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.
Before the match Sabella had praised Messi effusively, saying of his captain: "In general terms, Messi never plays badly. The only thing is that you always have to evaluate his performances in a general context. AFP