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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

INTERVIEW: How I will face the Super Águilas match against Guinea Bissau

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After a shaky start in their first group match when they held Equatorial Guinea to a 1-1 draw, the Super Eagles were in full flight against hosts Ivory Coast in their second match.

With the right tactics and the determination of the players, the Eagles achieved a crucial one-goal victory that virtually confirmed their place in the AFCON 2023 knockout stage.

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With one more group match left to play against last-place Guinea Bissau, coach Peseiro in this interview in Abidjan with PREMIUM TIMES and other journalists talks about his planned approach for Monday’s match and why the Super Eagles must win.

Excerpts…

Question: You played a very defensive game against Ivory Coast, parking the bus as we call it here. Did you get a call from Jose Mourinho about your tactics against the Elephants?

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Peseiro: I am a friend of Mourinho, even when the NFF was trying to hire me, someone from the board spoke with Mourinho. Of course, he is my friend, but in this kind of situation I can’t send a message to Mourinho, but he is my good friend and also a good coach.

Question: How did you feel after the victory over Ivory Coast? Did you feel great relief because you silenced an entire nation?

Peseiro: I don’t like to think too much about a victory in an ongoing tournament. If it’s the final match, that’s fine, but of course I like to win. I like my players to feel that happiness because a victory brings more confidence and faith in the process and the players also believe more in themselves… But at the same time, when you win. Some points are avoided when you relax and feel like you can play the same way in the next game. Sometimes you can lose focus and spirit, (and) you can lose the commitment required. The players know that in football everything can change quickly. That’s why I talked to my players, if we have the best tactics and we don’t intend to play with solidarity, it can’t be easy. Yes, confidence has increased, but we must remain focused.

Question: Now that Nigeria is no longer desperate to win, as even a draw will get us through, how would you approach our final match against Guinea-Bissau?

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Peseiro: We are going to play with our best team for the match, of course, I may change some players because I feel that some are still tired, so we check if they can recover or not. I think the first team (starting XI) that would play against Guniea-Bissau will be the best team for that match. Right now we have to make do, we have like two days to do final checks if the players have recovered well enough because we have less time between our second and third game compared to the time between the first and second. We want to win this match, we want to fight for the first position in this group, we have Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast also fighting for this same position, and we are going to do everything possible to get that position.

If we don’t beat Guniea-Bissau, it will change our confidence and the general good feeling we have now.

READ ALSO: INTERVIEW: AFCON 2023 Extra: What Nigeria can learn from Ivory Coast’s leadership

Question: You have always said that Nigeria will win the AFCON since the first day you were hired, do you still stand by that?

Peseiro: Yes, I said that I want to win the AFCON although my contract says that I have to reach the final, I will not say no now, although it would have been better to protect myself and not create expectations because if I do not win, it is worse for me. But I have put my mind and that of my players on that we want to win. Yes, there are very good teams that also want to win: Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana… and even Cape Verde is playing very well to win. There are favorites, candidates and outsiders.

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