|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino has leapt to the defence of his goal-shy attack ahead of Saturday's World Cup quarter-final with Spain in Johannesburg.
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Martino has steered Paraguay to their first ever last eight appearance at football's biggest tournament on the strength of a series of solid defensive displays.
But the trio of Manchester City's Roque Santa Cruz and Borussia Dortmund's Lucas Barrios and Nelson Valdez have all failed to find the net. And Paraguay needed penalties to overcome Japan in the second round after 120 goalless minutes.
They have managed just three goals in four matches and it would appear that Salvador Cabanas, their leading scorer during the qualifiers, has been sorely missed.
But Martino believes the negative approach of Paraguay's opponents has not helped their cause.
"One mustn't be too hard on our strikers," Martino said. "If they aren't scoring well, maybe it's because the balls aren't arriving fast enough to them.
"To score goals, you need to receive the ball in advantageous positions. I wouldn't like to be unfair to the strikers.
"I also hope that our next opponents will allow us to play differently and it won't be simply down to us to dictate the game.
"Against Spain, we should have more space, because they play to win. In three of our games so far, we've had to take the game to our opponents.''
Barrios, who netted 19 times in the Bundesliga last season, insists results and not who scores is of primary importance.
"The important thing is not who scores the goals, but that we formed a united squad which was capable of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in the history of Paraguay," he said.
Santa Cruz added: "I think we're getting in positions and we're doing the right things. Some day things will start to fall for us - and hopefully it will be in the quarter-finals.''