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Missing Messi Is Bad For the Psyche

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella says that the absence of Lionel Messi is “a psychological blow” for his team, even though they have already qualified for the World Cup next year.

The Argentina skipper and Barcelona superstar has withdrawn from his country’s last two qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay due to injury.

While Sabella does not need La Pulga Atomica, with Argentina’s ticket to Brazil already booked, he says it is the simple truth that football is both mentally and physically different when Messi is not involved.

"Messi's absence is always impossible to disguise," Sabella told Argentina's Radio 9.

"It's a different story, not just for us but also our rivals.

“It's a psychological blow when Leo's not on the pitch and it's a challenge to find a solution to the problem."

Argentina are also missing Gonzalo Higuain, Fernando Gago and Javier Mascherano, and Sabella admits he will be without his team’s “heart.”

But the absence of so many key players has given Sabella the kind of dilemma most coaches enjoy.

He would prefer for Argentina’s best team to play together regularly in preparation for their assault on the World Cup.

But because they have already qualified, Sabella can now experiment with his fringe players, giving Lucas Biglia and Ever Banega a run in central midfield, for example.

"On the one hand, I'd prefer to field the same team to run it in more, but I also can't help thinking this is a good chance to try out players and bed them in," Sabella said.

Read: Messi Wants World Cup Medal

Read: Messi Leads Argentina Into 2014

Read: Messi Injury Blow For Barcelona

Neymar Is Missing Messi At Barcelona

Unfit Messi Has "Raised The Bar So High"

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