Coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria Gernot Rohr has provided an explanation on his decision to play captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria John Obi Mikel in the playmaker role as opposed to his preferred role as a defensive midfielder.
Mikel was widely targeted by fans of the team, who feel he didn’t do much to help the Eagles carve open Croatia and should have been better off as a defensive midfielder.
The Tianjin Teda midfielder spent ten and half seasons as a defensive midfielder and during the post match conference, Rohr was quizzed on why he decided to play him in an offensive role.
“Since I have been in Nigeria for two years now we play Mikel in this role as an offensive midfielder. It was going very well throughout our games and the team was built around him.
“I know he played in a defensive midfield role and I know in China he plays offensive and defensive. When we don’t have the ball everybody is defensive and when we have the ball everyone is offensive. With Etebo and Ndidi, we had two good defensive midfielders who dis very well against Croatia despite playing for the first time together.
“Mikel tried his best but it is not easy when you have to play against (Luka) Modric and (Ivan) Rakitic. When you see the clubs these players play and compare it to where our players play, there is a little difference”, Rohr explained.