Argentina defender Javier Mascherano has said the relationship between the team and under-fire manager Jorge Sampaoli is “absolutely normal’ amid reports of a rift in the team camp.
During a press conference on Sunday held at the Bronnitsy Training Centre near Moscow, Sunday, Mascherano, flanked by Lucas Biglia, engaged in a heated debate with one a reporter and accused the media of "viralising myths."
Argentina have endured a rough start to the World Cup 2018, drawing their opening game with Iceland 1-1 in Moscow before being thrashed 3-0 by Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod, after which numerous media reported Sampaoli would possibly be sacked.
Also at the presser was Argentina Football Association President Claudio Tapia, who denied the rumours of a coup attempt by players against the coach and accused journalists of "lying" regarding the situation.
"You have seen today the technical staff directing the practice, and the team training, which demonstrates that many of the things that you have explained are a lie, they don’t happen,” he said, before going on to say the press are “damaging the national team.”
Argentina play Nigeria in their final group game, with a win guaranteeing their place in the knockout stage.
It was also reported that Sergio Aguero, the scorer of Argentina's only goal in the tournament so far, would be dropped for the all-important Nigeria match after the suupposed 'coup' against Sampaoli had failed.