Why Super Eagles Lost to Croatia – Rohr, Okocha Blames Lack of Creativity

Unpardonable mistakes, lack of professionalism were some of the reasons head coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr, adduced for their 0 – 2 loss in their opening game agaibst Croatia on Saturday.
The Eagles started their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign in Russia on a shaking ground when against all expectations fell behind in their opening match.
In post match briefing, Rohr said the loss was due to “many mistakes”.
The Eagles are in Group D with Argentina, Iceland with Croatia making up the group. Argentina had earlier played out a 1 – 1 draw with Iceland.
Rohr said his players were aware they made some important mistakes during the game.
The match played in Kaliningrad, the Eagles lost through an own goal by Oghenekaro Etebo and a Luka Modric penalty kick.
“We know we made some mistakes, too many important mistakes, and it is clear that we need to get better in order to move on,’’ the coach said.
He said the entire team was disappointed at the result, adding that they needed to work on being professional with the set-pieces.
“Our organisation was good, that is clear just as the tactics were not wrong, but we need to be more professional in the way we take the set-pieces. We need to be better before our next game,” he added.
Rohr, who admitted that the loss had made their task more herculean, said team captain Mikel Obi’s performance in the game was satisfactory just as he equally praised the defenders
“Mikel has since I took over always been playing the way we deployed him today, and this has yielded results for us.
“But, he couldn’t have done better than he did today, because of the quality of those he was playing against.
“He had Ivan Rakitic of FC Barcelona and Luka Modric of Real Madrid playing against him, and they are of good quality and playing for clubs bigger than that of Mikel who plays in China.
“So, he really did well,’’ he said.
On the 62nd minute substitution of Alex Iwobi, the coach said it was not done out of poor performance by the Arsenal FC player.
“Iwobi deserved his starting place, based on his performances in the last few days. He only had big work to do with the full back, and this took much out of him.
“However, he did well and I don’t think he shouldn’t have started the game,” he said.
Rohr, however, assured that he and his assistants would go on to ensure the team was improved upon before their June 22 date with Iceland in Volgograd.
“We will improve because it is important for us. We have to get better in order to move forward,” he said.
Meanwhile,former Super Eagles midfield maestro, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, blamed the team’s loss on lack of creativity.
Okocha, who was a guest on Super Sports TV, said the team lost because the players played in wrong positions which didn’t bring out the best in them.
“We didn’t have a creative midfielder today. Mikel Obi has been a great servant but I think his best position is sitting in front of the back four.
“We saw him play as a defensive midfielder in Chelsea and he did so well,” he said.
The veteran player also added that Iwobi was the most creative midfielder in the national team at the moment but playing him as a winger “was taking his strength from him”.
“Iwobi can play from the wings in Arsenal because there is a Mesut Ozil who brings creativity.
“I think the only reason why we lost this game is because our players played in the wrong positions and we didn’t get the best out of them,” he added.
Nigeria will take on Iceland on June 22 and play their last Group D game against Argentina on June 26.

Author: News Editor

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