Super Eagles chief coach Salisu Yusuf has defended his tactics and starting line-up used against Benin Republic in their 0-1 defeat at the Mathieu Kerekou Stadium on Sunday.
A late penalty kick from Benin Republic captain Mama Seibou gave the Squirrels a crucial victory in the first leg of the 2018 CHAN qualifier final round.
Coach Salisu opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation surprisingly naming NPFL top scorer Stephen Odey and Super Eagles invitee Ibrahim Alhassan amongst the substitutes.
The Super Eagles attack on the day comprised of Sikiri Olatunbosun, Kingsley Eduwo and Thomas Zenke with the trio creating little in the first half.
Super Eagles dominated the second half when coach Salisu introduced Alhassan for Ali and Odey for Zenke. The introduction of the duo propelled the visitors to dominate the half but lacked the cutting edge to put the ball behind the net.
Naijafootballplus.com asked Salisu after the game about his tactics and starting line-up, the manager defended his tactics and starting line-up.
“We didn’t make any mistake with our tactics and line-up, we wanted to start the game strongly and finish strongly. I think some players didn’t meet up with our expectations and failed to play at the level we expected from them.
“We had a better second half and that was our plan to have quality on the bench, we believe in the players that started the game. They are in top form and merit to start the game, we thought they could finish the first part well and the plans was to introduce the second group to finish up the game,” Salisu said to Naijafootballplus.com.
The second leg fixture will come up this Saturday at the Sani Abacha Stadium, in Kano.
Salisu added; “We have started thinking ahead of the second leg fixture, we have enough information to work on during the week. We have to take the negative and positive to our camp and prepare for the second leg and correct our mistakes.
“They (Benin) fought well during the game and gave us a big game. It was not an entire poor performance from the players and I am satisfied with their performance. We have to improve on some areas and the result is easy for us to over turn, we have another 90 minutes to redeem our target. The target is clear to the group, we have to over turn the result in Kano and secure the CHAN ticket.”
The Super Eagles contingent will depart Contonou, Benin Republic at 12pm to Lagos by road. The team will connect Kano via domestic flight at 6pm from Lagos.
Training will resume on Tuesday morning for the second leg game this weekend, while all the players dropped for the first leg are mandated to resume camp with the travelling squad.