Ivory Coast interim coach, Emerse Faé, has admitted that his counterpart in the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, shocked them with his change of formation in their first meeting in Group A.
He said this was a key reason the Elephants were outplayed by the Super Eagles.
The Super Eagles beat Cote D’Ivoire 1-0 in front of their home fans to secure all three points courtesy of William Troost-Ekong’s match-winning goal in the 55th minute.
The formation preferred by Peseiro is a 4-4-2 and one of its hybrids is a 4-2-4 but the Portuguese set up his team in a 3-4-3 against the Elephants – a system he tested in a friendly game against Guinea before the start of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Peseiro opted to play with five defenders when the team is out of possession with wing-backs Zaidu Sanusi and Ola Aina dropping into defence to form a back five.
Elephsnt’s interim coach, Emerse Faé confessed that the tactical switch by Peseiro caught the Elephants off guard.
“I believe the main lesson that we have drawn from the group stage game against Nigeria is that in this competition you have to expect the unexpected against the teams because we had prepared Nigeria’s group stage game based on what was happening in the past few months, playing in 4-4-2 and when they arrived they were playing 5-4-1 so that took us aback,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Saturday.
“We expected a 4-2-4 and then they ended up playing in a 5-4-1, so from 4-2-4 to 5-4-1 so we had to focus on what we wanted to do, what we wanted to set up and we have to ready to have tactical dispensations that could change for tomorrow’s game.
“Tomorrow as I said we are going to prepare looking at ourselves and try to challenge them, try to control the game, being patient in the beginning but focusing on our strengths.”
Faé is not thinking of tomorrow’s final being settled by penalties, saying the plan is to physically dominate the opponents.
“Nigeria had almost a faultless run. As the competition progressed they gained strength and became more dangerous offensively and more solid defensively.
“For us it’s the opposite, we gained strength from the match against Senegal in the round of 16. We will try to tire them out and wear them out over 90 minutes “
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