Golden Eaglets coach Emmanuel Amuneke conceded that his team were second best and deserved to lose their last group game against Croatia in the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile.
Nigeria lost the game 2-1 despite going ahead through striker Victor Osimhen in the 20th minute.
"My players wanted to win, but we were not the best tonight (early Saturday morning in Nigeria)," Amuneke told FIFA.com.
"The Croats have asked us many problems. They prevented us from playing our game and deserved to win."
Amuneke however hopes to see a better performance from his young team as they play in the knock out phases.
"My players are very talented, but still have room for improvement collectively," the former Super Eagles star and African Footballer of the Year winner remarked.
Amuneke's opposite number, Dario Basic, also spoke after the game and he admitted they approached the game like a cup final.
"I am very proud of my players who played a great match. We approached this game as a final, telling us it was absolutely necessary to win or go home.
"I believed in my team. It has shown that it can compete with the best teams in the world," Basic stressed with satisfaction."