• Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

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Inter Miami predicts a bigger role for Lionel Messi against Atlanta United

Inter Miami predicts a bigger role for Lionel Messi against Atlanta United

Current Five Stripes head coach Gonzalo Pineda witnessed this blissful season in Atlanta from afar as a member of the Seattle Sounders FC coaching staff, and also knows and respects Martino’s work with Mexico, having worn the El Tri kit 45 times as a player himself.

“Regardless of what the Mexican media thinks, I think he did a great job in Mexico.” At the end, he had so many injuries with Mexico that he couldn’t apply what he was working on for so many years,” Pineda said. “Whatever it is, I always express my admiration.” I think we probably think the same way about the game. We like to be the protagonists of the game, we like to be in control, we like to have the ball. We believe we have to try to play beautiful football to keep the fans engaged.

“So I think we have some similarities there. But of course he has much more experience and much more success than me. I am at the beginning of my career and I hope that someday I can achieve half of the success that Tata has achieved. When the whistle blows, I think I have to be the best coach for my team and I have to be at his level, so I can help my players to be good on the field.”

Cruz Azul largely outplayed the Herons on the opening night of the Leagues Cup, but failed to finish off a myriad of scoring chances and succumbed to Messi’s late free-kick spell. As intimidating as the Argentina legend’s presence might be, Pineda wants his side to seize both the moment and the rhythm of the game as they begin their League Cup campaign – especially with midfielder Thiago Almada, Messi’s World Cup-winning team-mate with Argentina.

“The best way to limit a very good player from attacking, creating scoring opportunities, is to not give them the ball,” Pineda said. “That’s usually how we do, or we try to do, against good players. And of course we know he can be very dangerous, but so is the connection, right? Busquets can be very good at finding him in pockets. And I think if we can deal with that, with more of the ball than them, I think we’ll be fine.

“It’s just about the personality it takes to be on that kind of stage, that kind of stadium with that kind of energy and having more of the ball, always having to be in control of the game, having good players together when we’re in possession, being tight.”