Belo Horizonte: Argentina may have failed to impress in their opening two World Cup games but after winning both to reach the knockout stage they must be doing something right, midfielder Angel Di Maria said on Sunday.
The Argentines, title contenders in Brazil, had to wait until stoppage time to beat Iran 1-0 in Group F on Saturday courtesy of a superb Lionel Messi goal.
They were equally unconvincing in the opener against Bosnia, edging past them 2-1 with four-times world player of the year Messi again on target.
"If the entire Iranian team was defending, if you wanted to avoid one player, another one was waiting for you, it was impossible to play," Di Maria told reporters at their training ground in Belo Horizonte.
Iran did work hard in defence but also carved out several good scoring chances in the second half against a porous Argentina defence.
"But if you think we are playing badly, it’s only you who is saying that," he said in response to a question about their performances. "Because we are doing everything well."
"We are trying to win the games. This is important. If you want to be champions, we need to win (each match)."
Argentina, World Cup winners in 1978 and 1986, next play Nigeria and a draw would secure top spot in the group.
"This is just the beginning," said Di Maria, who struggled against the Iranians as did fellow forwards Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain, both of whom were taken off late in the game.
"The most important thing at this moment is get the six points from the two matches and with that we can go to the next round," Di Maria said.
"Everybody wants to improve – from the goalkeeper to the rest of the team. Everybody wants to keep improving and help him (Messi) to do his job easily."