Javier Pastore insists that Argentina will not be weighed down by pressure as they look to put their Copa America disappointment behind them and get their 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign off to a flying start.
Argentina had hoped to win the Copa America on home soil in July, only to suffer an agonising defeat on penalties to eventual winners Uruguay in the quarter-finals.
Since then, Alejandro Sabella has been brought in as coach to replace Sergio Batista and his task is to get a squad full of world-class players to gel as quickly as possible as they seek to negotiate a safe path to the 2014 finals in neighbouring Brazil.
The absence of the Brazilians from qualifying appears to make the process an easier one, but the Copa America demonstrated the strength in depth of football on the continent these days. A win against Chile at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires in Friday's opening qualifier is therefore a must before Sabella takes his side to face improving Venezuela.
Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Pastore has said that the squad are remaining calm, but are also eager to put smiles back on the faces of a football-mad public. "Everyone is pretty relaxed I would say. We have a new coach and we have to start thinking about new objectives," Pastore said before flying home to prepare for the Chile clash.
"The people back home are bound to be a little upset because they were really hoping we would win the Copa America, just like we were. It wasn't to be, but we are relaxed, even if we know that we have to give our very best if we are to make it to the World Cup, which for Argentina is very important, of course."
The people back home are bound to be a little upset because they were really hoping we would win the Copa America, just like we were.
Sabella, who won the Copa Libertadores and the Apertura title during a two-year spell in charge of Estudiantes, has already chosen to make Lionel Messi his captain, and getting the very best out of the Barcelona man will be one of his biggest challenges.
Competition for places elsewhere will be fierce though, with Pastore, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Ever Banega just some of the players who would walk into most international teams. Manchester City rebel Carlos Tevez was not included for the first round of games, and may now struggle to find a route back into Sabella's squad, but Pastore's claim for a starting slot is a strong one.
He has been in stunning form for PSG since moving to France in a deal worth a reported €42 million in the summer, scoring five goals to help his new side to the top of their domestic league.
However, the former Palermo man is prepared to be patient and wait for his chance at international level. "There is a lot of competition, there are a lot of great and very important players," he said. "Every player just has to do their bit when they are called upon. If I have to settle for a place on the bench, well in that case I will do my best when I do get my chance to help the team win."