Martino: Argentina won’t change under his command
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — New Argentina coach Gerardo Martino will not make any drastic changes to the style of play that took the team to the World Cup final.
After being officially introduced on Thursday, Martino said he will keep the same philosophy and tactics of former coach Alejandro Sabella, who stood down after the World Cup in Brazil.
“What Alejandro achieved was wonderful,” Martino said. “The idea is to work with professionalism and to maintain the same line of work that Alejandro had.”
Martino’s first official task will be to pick a squad for a Sept. 3 friendly against Germany in Dusseldorf, a match that was scheduled before they met in the final a month ago.
Martino said he will likely summon the same 23 players from the World Cup squad that lost 1-0 in extra time at Maracana Stadium.
“It would be a prize for these players,” said Martino, who did the same thing as Paraguay coach after the team reached the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He did not rule out a recall for Carlos Tevez, who was left out of the World Cup despite pressure from fans and local media.
“The doors are open for all the players,” he said.
Martino accepted the Argentina job less than three months after leaving Barcelona with one year left on his contract. The Spanish club failed to win a major trophy for the first time in six years.
Martino again will coach Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano, who played for him in Barcelona.
“I have the advantage of having worked with Messi and Mascherano,” the 51-year-old coach said.
Known for setting up offensive squads, Martino was hired by the Argentine Football Association until the end of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, but the contract will be automatically extended if the team makes it to the tournament in Russia.
Martino is Argentina’s 10th coach in 40 years. The South American powerhouse hasn’t won a major title since the 1993 Copa America in Ecuador. Argentina won gold in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, tournaments played mostly with under-23 players.
Martino began his coaching career with small Argentine teams before succeeding with Paraguayan clubs and eventually taking over that country’s national team, which also made it to the final of the 2011 Copa America under his command. He coached Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina before landing the Barcelona job.