Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro said his players did not play the “way we know” in the first 15 minutes of their 1-0 international friendly defeat against Ecuador on Friday.
The Super Eagles went into the fixture at Red Bull Arena in Harrison ready to make amends having suffered a 2-1 defeat in another friendly against Mexico at AT&T Stadium on May 29.
However, they were undone by a third-minute goal from Pervis Estupinan.
“In the first 15 minutes, we didn’t play the way we know that we can,” Peseiro told reporters after the game as quoted by Pulse Sports.
“We have players that can move the ball and control the game, but they could not in the first 20 minutes.
“After the first 15 minutes, we played much better in my opinion and the second half was much better.”
The 62-year-old Portuguese tactician also took issue with the match officials, insisting the three-time African champions deserved to be awarded a penalty.
“I don’t want to speak about the referee, but we should have gotten a penalty,” Peseiro continued.
“There was no VAR, but in the stadium, they showed the replay, and it was a clear penalty, the goalkeeper touched the foot of our player.
“It’s okay anybody can make mistakes, so the players and the referee can also make mistakes.”
Peseiro, however, named some positives from the game: “I think we played much better than against Mexico.
“But today [Friday], I think we pressured more, and created more opportunities, against Mexico we created a lot of opportunities, but today, we create even more.”
He also blamed limited time for training before heading to the USA for losing the two matches.
“Before the game against Mexico, we trained just two times, and some players even trained only once, and some players joined after that game. I think by the time the players have trained up to four times together, they will improve.” Peseiro concluded.
The Super Eagles will head home for their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying opener against Sierra Leone at Abuja National Stadium on June 9.
Nigeria are pooled in Group A alongside the Leone Stars, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome Principe. Their matchday two fixture will them travel to face Sao Tome at Stade Adrar on June 13.