Argentina goalkeeper Mariano Andujar believes Diego Maradona's men have to prioritise points over panache if they want to qualify for next year's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Andujar made his international debut as the Albicelestes claimed a 1-0 home win over Colombia last Saturday, but conceded twice on Wednesday as they went down 2-0 to Ecuador in Quito. That defeat left Argentina in fourth place - the last automatic qualification spot - in the South American qualifying zone, just two points above the Ecuadorians who occupy the play-off position.
The next qualifier for the two-time FIFA World Cup winners is against group leaders and bitter rivals Brazil in September and Estudiantes keeper Andujar claims results are all that matter now. "The results take you to the World Cup, not good football," he said on the TyC Sports cable channel.
"We are quite disappointed because we could have taken more (from last night's match). Sometimes you win when you don't deserve it. Sometimes you deserve more than you end up getting. I'm sure that we'll win more games than we'll lose by playing the way we played yesterday."
Andujar claimed Argentina could not use the fact the game was played at 2,800 metres above sea level as an excuse. "We cannot say we lost because of the altitude, but it affected us in some moments," he said.
"In the closing 20 minutes you feel a little different, even more so if you have to go for the win. That is why making the difference in the first half is so important. If we had scored from some of the opportunities we had in the first half, the match would have been different."
Velez Sarsfield's Nicolas Otamendi made his Argentina debut in the defeat to Ecuador and felt his they were made to pay for missed chances. He said: "Our form in the first half was quite good. We had chances but failed to score them.
"We also had them in the opening 15 or 20 minutes of the second half, but their keeper (Marcelo Elizaga) was great. Then we started to feel tired. Personally, it was not because of altitude, but because the field was quite wet and fast."