Argentina defender Martin Demichelis has praised Diego Maradona for the faith he has shown in him despite a loss of form.
The centre-back suffered a difficult patch at the back for the national team, coupled with Argentina's struggles to qualify for the World Cup this summer, only making it in their final qualifier.
Maradona shouldered much of the criticism for his decisions in their qualifying campaign, being seen as not experienced enough to lead his side to the World Cup despite his legendary status in the tournament as a player.
However, Maradona has proved the doubters wrong thus far, with his side producing some of the finest performances in the tournament and going into their quarter-final against Germany as slight favourites to progress.
Demichelis, who plies his trade in Germany with Bayern Munich, was full of compliments for Maradona, hailing his management skills as vital to bringing what looked like a dysfunctional team together, despite his shaky mistake against South Korea in the group stage to gift them a goal leading to further criticism.
"Maradona has given me so much support," Demichelis said.
"I didn't see him much as a player, only through watching matches on TV.
"But as a coach he has grown a lot. The words he uses are very convincing and makes us feel very positive about ourselves.
"No-one can question him because we have played four matches at the World Cup and won them all."
Demichelis maintained that he could handle the accusations levelled at him, stating that he would rather the pressure be off the strikers than the defence.
"I prefer to be the target," Demichelis added.
"It is better for the critics to look at me rather than the strikers.
"It means they can keep their minds fresh and positive at all times."
He was also mindful of the threat the Germans will pose, citing concentration and to challenge in the air as key if they are to make it through.
"You have to highlight the way Germany use the aerial game," he said.
"Most of their players are very tall and their goalkeeper likes to get the ball forward fast.
"We will have to watch that and make sure we are ready for it tomorrow."