Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa brushed aside talk he is regarded as a superhero for guiding his team to their first FIFA World Cup™ victories since 1962, fearful his side might yet fail to advance.
The South Americans lead Group H ahead of Friday's concluding matches that send La Roja against reigning European champions Spain and Switzerland against Honduras, all with hope of reaching the knockout rounds. Although the Chileans top the group with six points off two wins, they could be undone with a loss to Spain and a Swiss victory over goal-less Honduras.
"I'm not a superhero," Bielsa said. "I have worked on a football project. We're playing at the World Cup. Everything you are saying will be multiplied 10-fold if we move on to the knockout stage and vanish into the air if we do not."
Chile could advance with a draw but Bielsa said he will not play for a deadlock, instead pushing ahead as his teams typically do. "A draw is not good enough," Bielsa said. "Playing for a draw is more complicated for me than trying to win."
Don't look for any changes in style either, Chile figuring the best way to get through is to bring the usual troubles to Spain, who left themselves vulnerable by losing 1-0 to the Swiss in the group opener. "It's very difficult to play with changes because you find yourself in a difficult situation," Bielsa said. "We will work on the usual areas -- keep the ball, attack and play defence."
Bielsa said he understood the shock over the Spanish side not beating Honduras more than 2-0 and losing to the Swiss. "The difference between Switzerland and Spain was supposed to be two or three goals and with Honduras the match should have been twice as much," he said. "But one interprets the merits and not the results."
The former Argentina coach had praise for how well Maradona's edition of the squad has done at the FIFA World Cup, winning all three first-round starts. "Argentina dominated the matches," he said. "They have been rising in their performance. They have destablizing players that make the most of their qualities."
And he had no qualms about dubbing Argentina star Lionel Messi the world's best player. "He was the stabilizer in the three matches. He controlled a great deal," Bielsa said. "That's why Argentina has nine out of nine points."