Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr blamed his side’s opening Group D defeat to Croatia on lack discipline at set-pieces that comes with inexperience
“I was pleased with the general attitude and organisation all over the pitch but we were let down by the mistakes and lack of care at set-pieces”.
The Super Eagles conceded an Oghenkharo Etebo own goal in the first half and a penalty stroked home by Luka Modric after centre-back William Troost-Ekong was adjudged to have fouled Mario Mandzukic at a corner in the second half.
Rohr felt his young team was harshly done by that decision “There were many like fouls at the Croatian end of the pitch but they were not penalised” he said. “That is football; sometimes you get them others you don’t but my players will learn from it”.
Many in the media tribune of the Nigerian contingent were puzzled at the withdrawal of Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi. The coach explains “Iwobi did so much defensively because the Croatian right back(Sime Vrsalko) attacked a lot, so late in the half he was a bit tired. That was why he brought the fresh legs of Ahmed Musa”.
ACLSports.com then asked if it was possible to tactically have Skipper Mikel Obi play in a defensive midfield role as he had done for so many years at Chelsea. “Since I arrived in Nigeria, we have played him in this role(No 10) and we have won many games. We did not lose today because he did not play in the defensive midfield”.
That is that then.
Nigeria play Iceland next in Volgograd. The World Cup debutants earned a creditable draw against one of the tournament favourites Argentina. It has become a must win game for Nigeria.