2019 Africa Cup of Nations-winning coach, Djamel Belmadi has admitted that manager Gernot Rohr disrupted his tactical plans by fielding a different Nigeria starting lineup in Friday’s international friendly at the Wörthersee Stadium, Klagenfurt.
Rohr made seven changes to the team that beat Lesotho 4-2 with full debuts handed to goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, Frank Onyeka and Zaidu Sanusi.
The main novelty was Tyronne Ebuehi starting a game for the national team for more than two years, with the Benfica loanee selected over Ola Aina and Chidozie Awaziem for the right-back role.
West Brom’s Semi Ajayi, who previously started the last four matches, changed his position from centre back to central midfield to compensate for the absence of the injured Wilfred Ndidi, while Porto’s Sanusi started ahead of Jamilu Collins at left-back.
“We had spotted two or three weaknesses that they could tactically have with certain players,” Belmadi told reporters post-match.
“Today, they actually played others so it disturbed some of the information I was able to give to the players a bit, but they have adapted to this situation.”
Djamel Belmadi added: “We responded well against a team which is tactically in good shape. We gave a physical response with a lot of intensity in the midfield and in the pressing.
“These are things that we were able to work on. I think our players have been almost perfect against a strong team.
“We came to find difficulty. We were tactically fair. We did everything we had prepared this week. Great merit to the players.”