Uruguay coach Tabarez hails 'master' Lionel Messi.

Image Soure: Getty - Gabriel Rossi / STF

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez praised the all-round display of Lionel Messi, after suffering a 1-0 loss to Argentina in the Copa America in Chile.

The Uruguayan called the Barcelona hitman Messi "master of the ball" following their defeat on Tuesday.

Sergio Aguero's sublime header in the second half was enough to seal the win, moving the Argentines to the top of Group B - with four points.

Image Source: Getty - RAUL SIFUENTES/STR

"Now we have greater motivation for the last game against Paraguay, where we will play to qualify," Tabarez told a news conference.

"We prepared a collective strategy today, but Messi is unpredictable, because you never know what he is going to do, there is always a surprise.

"He is a master of the ball, has great speed and mentally anticipates the movements of the defenders. He is always one second ahead.

"In this Argentina system, the ball is almost never straight down the left wing, they move diagonally from right to left and he knows he can be most dangerous when he carries the ball left and connects with Aguero.

"They have a close relationship, where Aguero picks the pass he wants and Messi puts it there."

Tabarez wasn't happy his side didn't have enough impact in the tie and they now sit in third position in the group, a point behind the top two.

"We knew we were facing a very strong team, which makes keeping possession difficult. We did not control it as well as we would have liked, and as we had planned to," he said.

"We were pinned back, and we found it difficult to create chances on goal. I've always said that teams in these tournaments, when there is little preparation time, are built during the championship.

"Obviously we will exclude those who already have plenty of experience like Argentina, who were great in qualifying and had a very good World Cup.

"They have almost all the same players, and they don't need the time other teams need to rebuild and bring in young players."

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