Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro says his team is superior to the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone but must prove on the pitch.
The Eagles will entertain Sierra Leone in their first game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Abuja on Thursday.
Peseiro’s star-studded side are favourites to secure the three points as they look to put the disappointment of not qualifying for this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Recall the last time both teams met during the 2021 AFCON qualifiers, Sierra Leone mounted a shock comeback to draw 4-4 after falling 4-0 behind.
And Peseiro believes the only way the Eagles can prove that superiority over the minnows is to perform on the pitch.
“Our team is better than Sierra Leone, it’s true and no one can doubt that,” Peseiro sais in Wednesday’s pre-match press conference in Abuja. “But we need to show it in our football because any team can beat any team with good organisation, commitment.
“You can create lots of opportunities and don’t score while the other team can create one and score. Our team is favourite for tomorrow but we need to show in the field that we want to win.”
Peseiro stated that the style of football he prefers is high press and is happy with the quality of players at his disposal who he believes can learn it quickly.
“I like to attack, I like to play high pressure, I like to command the game with the ball, I can do it with formations like 5-3-2, 4-4-2, 3-4-3. And for my style of play I need time but the good thing is that I have players with quality who can learn quickly.”
The former Real Madrid assistant coach explained what motivated him to take up the Eagles coaching job.
“Why did I decide with the NFF president that I want to come here? Why did I say I want to win the AFCON? Because I believe in the players, I have confidence in them.
“I have spoken to my staff, the players and step by step I will learn about the environment, the characteristics of the players and I will know the players better when I go to the pitch with them. In this few days we’ve been together we did some exercise and for tomorrow I want to win I must win.”
And on reports about him complaining about the pitch of the MKO Abiola stadium and if he was responsible for inviting the players without being influenced:”I didn’t speak to anyone about the pitch or the stadium so I don’t know about this report. I never spoke to any journalist I only spoke in a press conference in the United States.
“What is more important to us is how to play well tomorrow and beat Sierra Leone.”
“It’s my job my responsibility for the players, of course I invited the players and I will advice that the coach is attacked than the players.
“For me I protect all my players if I choose 25 I take responsibility for them, if I choose eleven I take responsibility for them. I believe in keeping the confidence in players because I notice players are attacked for just one mistake which is nothing. My players know that they have my protection everytime.”