Lionel Messi admits his Argentina side were left feeling 'bitter' after their Copa America defeat to Colombia, but insists they must put the result behind them as they prepare to face Paraguay in a now crucial encounter.
La Albiceleste improved in the second half following a lacklustre opening 45, but it wasn't enough as Colombia scored twice in the last 20 minutes to condemn Argentina to their first competitive defeat under Lionel Scaloni.
"There's a good group, we're going to get up, and we're ready to take the challenge," Messi said of the loss, as quoted by Mundo Deportivo.
"We have to be strong, think about what's coming and don't give up. There's still a long way to go. Beyond the result, there were good things. We have to lift our heads and go on,"
"I don't know if the first half was bad. We retreated a bit and let them have the ball. Although they did not reach us. And when we were at our best, in the second half, [Colombia scored],"
"We leave bitter because, at the best time, they scored the goal."
It was the worst possible start for the Argentines, as they rebuild following their poor showing at last year's World Cup.
Messi will also be conscious that time is running out for him to win that elusive international trophy and the pressure will surely be on him to deliver sooner rather than later as the Barcelona forward is now in his 30s.
Argentina have two remaining group stage fixtures against Paraguay and Qatar respectively. With arguably the hardest group game out the way now, the Argentines can look to rebuild their confidence and hopefully kickstart a successful campaign.