Messi was critical of Argentina's first-half defensive formation in their World Cup opener against Bosnia despite a 2-1 win but those post-match comments were welcomed, Sabella said. Messi wants more offensive Argentina (JPN/Agencies)
"I was not hurt by Leo's comment and he has said that before. He likes to play 4-3-3 with (Angel) Di Maria up front," the Argentine told reporters ahead of Saturday's Group F game against Iran.
"They (reporters) asked him how he likes to play and he answered what he thinks in a respectful way. We respect each other, we have a very strong team spirit. It is good to have an open dialogue with my players,” he said.
"Sometimes players learn from us (coaches) and sometimes we learn from them," the coach said.
Sabella surprisingly opted to play an extra defender in Hugo Campagnaro and sacrificed forward Gonzalo Higuain against World Cup debutants Bosnia and the result was a flat first half display that belied Argentine's status among the tournament favourites.
He changed tactics at halftime, with his players feeding Messi more and the Argentine scoring in the 65th to put them two goals ahead.
Sabella confirmed that would also be the way he would start against Iran, who drew 0-0 in their opener against Nigeria.
"We can all make mistakes you know. Tomorrow we will start with a 4-3-3 formation and we will take it from there. We may have to change the formation or not,” Sabella said.
"I am the one who told Messi to go (to the news conference after the Bosnia game) and I fully trust all my players from a human and professional standpoint," the coach said.
"We have a two-way street in our dialogue because if you don't let them say what they want to say then you won't get the best out of them," he said.
Messi believes coach Alejandro Sabella has to back his side's attacking capabilities and include him among a front three when they face Iran on Saturday in Belo Horizonte.
Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is expected to return to Sabella's starting line-up as the two-time winners look to seal their place in the second round of the World Cup with a victory over Iran.
Higuain came on as a substitute to set up Messi to score just his second ever World Cup goal as Argentina got their campaign off to a winning start against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Rio on Sunday.
And Messi said he feels more comfortable playing with both Higuain and Sergio Aguero in attack.
"We are Argentina and I think we need to concentrate on ourselves without fixating on who we are playing," said the four-time World Player of the Year.
"We feel more comfortable with two up front and me behind because it makes it easier to counter-attack and, because we have more people in attack, we have more possibilities," he said.
Messi was critical of Argentina's first-half defensive formation in their World Cup opener against Bosnia despite a 2-1 win but those post-match comments were welcomed, Sabella said.
Messi wants more offensive Argentina