In his post-match press conference, Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro addressed several factors that he believed contributed to the 2-1 defeat suffered by the Nigerian national team in the final of the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
Following a series of solid performances in the build-up to the final at Stade Alassane Ouattara, Ebimpe, many tipped the Super Eagles to win a fourth AFCON title in Abidjan.
However, that was not the case as the hosts came from a goal down to secure a 2-1 victory that earned them their third AFCON title following earlier successes in 1992 and 2015.
Bad day at the office
Reflecting on what turned out to be a disappointing final, Peseiro told reporters in Ebimpe that the Super Eagles, among other things, were nervous.
“Cote d’Ivoire were the main favourites for this tournament; they have very good players, wingers, and very fast wingers. Quality wingers in attack, they are a good team but they were almost out, I don’t know if that situation did change the pressure. They were fantastic; they didn’t play with pressure, and they didn’t feel nervous, but on the opposite, my players, my team felt nervous more than their opponents.”
Peseiro also admitted the Super Eagles lost too many balls, which was evident in the final tally of 61 per cent to 39 per cent ball possession in favour of the Elephants.
“We lose many balls; I don’t know why; I don’t think my players were comfortable today. From the back, we lose too many balls, and with that, you allow the opponent to create many chances, and they attack and attack.”
Despite the shortfalls highlighted, Peseiro insists his players deserve to be praised for how far they came and how they gave their best shot at winning the 2023 AFCON tournament.
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