Demichelis praises Maradona

Bayern defender says manager is key to Argentina's success

Demichelis: Praises Maradona

Argentina defender Martin Demichelis claims Diego Maradona's presence is of great benefit to the national team.

Maradona's time in charge of Argentina has been a chaotic period which finally seems to have reached a steady pace.

A defeat in World Cup qualifying to Bolivia by six goals was a low point, and he was reprimanded after a lewd outburst following the end of the campaign.

But despite the fact he has his critics, defender Demichelis, 30, says having Maradona at the helm is a great positive.

"Of course Maradona helps us," said the Bayern Munich man.

"He motivates us a lot and takes all the pressure away.

"He is a very important figure for us. He gives us energy and hunger to do well."

Argentina have been drawn in Group B for the South Africa tournament alongside Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.

Following a turbulent qualifying campaign, Maradona's men have hit some form of late and have been widely tipped to go far this summer.

"This team has grown in the last few months," Demichelis added.

"Most of the criticisms levelled against us in the first place were really unfair anyway.

"There is a lot of belief in this squad and there is no doubt we will be one of the best prepared teams to fight for this competition."