7th June, 2010
Nigeriaâ€™s Coach Lars Lagerback says the Super Eagles would get better as they get set for their World Cup opening match against Argentina this weekend in South Africa.
In Lagerbackâ€™s candid opinion, the Eagles showed in their friendly match against North Korea yesterday that they can rise to the occasion when the chips are down.
Lagerback, whoÂ spoke with journalists after the match at Tembisa stadium, said the team played according to instruction, and described their performance as encouraging.
The Eagles coach also expressed his desire to lead Eagles to victory in South Africa without Chelseaâ€™s John Obi Mikel. â€œThe Eaglesâ€™ve shown they can play without Mikel, so hopefully we will do even better when the World Cup begins,â€ he said.
Lagerback said it was unfortunate that the playmaker was injured and out of the World Cup. He, however,Â said the crop of players in the midfield had proved their mettle.
Mikel was dropped from the 23-man squad on 4 June after he failed to recuperate fully from an injury. He was replaced by Brown Ideye who came in yesterday and watched the match from the sidelines. Lagerback said in spite of the slip which made Nigeria to concede a goal, the defence line was impressive. â€œThe Korean goal was a mistake. Sometimes you do a mistake but that does not mean you complain about the whole defence,â€ he said.
â€œThe defence in general was quite right. I think the defence has been good today,â€ he told NAN. â€œI think itâ€™s a step further in our preparation,â€ he said of the match, stressing it was important to win a game.