WORLD CUP WATCH: Nigeria must improve – John Obi Mikel

WORLD CUP WATCH: Nigeria must improve – John Obi Mikel
John Obi Mikel (L)

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Jun 04, 2018. 09:29

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel says the Super Eagles must improve before their participation in the 2018 World Cup.

Nigeria suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of England in a warm-up friendly played at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday.

The Super Eagles put up a good showing in the second half and scored through Alex Iwobi, but their first half performance – in which they conceded goals to Gary Cahill and Harry Kane – was dismal.

With the African side set to face a tough Group D at Russia 2018, Mikel knows that they must learn from their defeat to England and improve before their World Cup opener against Croatia on June 16.

"We are a very young team and we have to learn, it is good for this young team to have a taste of what we are going to face in Russia," Mikel said in the wake of the loss to England.

"We have to learn together as a team, we have to improve and that is why we played this game against such a quality side.

"We can know where we are and now we go back to training and try and improve."

Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr agreed with Mikel's assessment, but blamed their slow start on fatigue caused by a difficult journey to England and rain that stopped them training the day before the match.

"The first lesson is we are not ready yet. We have to work much more in the two weeks before our first game," the German said.

"We missed totally the first half but the preparation wasn't good.

"We couldn't train on Friday because of rain, the pitch wasn't good. We arrived after a 10 hour flight, with many stops.

"In the first half our usual formation didn't work. Some of our players weren't fit and England put the pressure on us.

"This bad beginning was an opportunity to change and play a bit more like England in the second half. It was much better.

"Also we changed four players. Unfortunately we can't change four players if there is a problem in the World Cup."

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