2018 FIFA WC: Super Eagles coach accepts responsibility for the loss to Croatia

Kaliningrad, Russia (PANA) - Accepting responsibility for the 2-0 loss to Croatia on Saturday at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, said the team’s loss to Croatia was due to “many mistakes’’.

Rohr, speaking at the post-match press conference after the Group D fixture, said he and his players were aware they made some grave mistakes during the game.

In the match, played in Kaliningrad, the Eagles lost through an own goal by Oghenekaro Etebo in the first half and a Luka Modric penalty in the second.

“We know we made some mistakes, too many 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 needed 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 is 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.

In his reaction, former Nigerian international Jay Jay Okocha said the Super Eagles lost because players were not deployed to their usual positions

Okocha stated that Nigeria's 2-0 to Croatia was because Coach Rohr put players out of position, blaming the tactician for the defeat.

"Rohr put players in positions they were not suited for which eventually led to the defeat.

Okoch gave his opinion in his post-match analysis where he stated that Rohr should have deployed his nephew, Alex Iwobi, down the middle while playing Captain Mikel Obi further back.

Speaking as an analyst on SuperSport, Okocha said, “We didn’t have a creative player today.

“Mikel has been a good servant to the national team. His best position is playing in front of the defence. We saw what he did playing for Chelsea where he had a glorious career.

“The most creative player in that team is Alex Iwobi but he was played on the flanks. He (Iwobi) can play on the flanks at Arsenal because they had better players in that role like Mesut Ozil."

Okocha revealed that Mikel was not creative enough to supply properly to the wider players -  Moses and Iwobi.

He declared: “Playing Mikel in that position didn’t help Moses and Iwobi on the flanks.”
-0- PANA VAO 17June2018

17 june 2018 09:31:47




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