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Morocco struggled for motivation against 'smaller' nations at Afcon 2019 – Saiss

19:50 GMT+3 17/08/2019
Romain Saiss
The pre-tournament favourites fell short after suffering the ignominy of elimination in the Round of 16 at the hands of Benin

Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Romain Saiss believes Morocco paid the price for their laid-back approach in games against supposed smaller countries at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

The Atlas Lions exited the showpiece at the Round of 16 against Benin on penalties, which saw the pre-Afcon favourites fall way short of their target of claiming a second continental crown.

The Wolves defender, who featured in every game for the North Africans in Egypt, admitted their overly relaxed attitude in the tournament may have cost them.

"We expected to go really far in this competition. We saw in this competition that when we play a team that is maybe lower than us, sometimes we struggled,” Saiss told the BBC.

"But when we played against very good teams, we were good so we have to work on it because people in Morocco expect more from their national team. A country like Morocco has to go to the semi-finals of every Afcon.

"We have to do much better.”

Morocco’s early exit led to the resignation of Herve Renard after over three years in the job.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation appointed Vahid Halilhodzic on Thursday, and the Serbian has been tasked with taking the Atlas Lions to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.