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Women's World Cup

'We're getting closer and closer' - Nigeria's Dennerby remains undeterred by Canada defeat

13:00 BST 11/04/2019
Super Falcons - Awcon 2018
The Super Falcons suffered their first defeat to the North Americans in a friendly but their gaffer is unfazed by the latest setback.

Thomas Dennerby is untroubled by Nigeria women's setback following a 2-1 defeat to Canada in a friendly at Pinatar Arena.

The African champions were undefeated against the North Americans in the last two meetings but eventually bowed for the first time to Kenneth Heiner-Moller's team.

The Super Falcons looked certain to extend their unbeaten run after Desire Oparanozie's 27th-minute strike gave them a shock first-half lead.

However, second-half goals from Janine Beckie and Sophie Schmidt condemned the Africans to their fourth defeat in eight friendlies on Monday.

The 59-year-old insists that they are closer to their best with two months to the Women's World Cup while appealing for patience from fans with his team.

"For every game we play, we're getting closer and closer," Dennerby told Goal.

"We know that we have a couple of players that were not here in Spain but will definitely be fighting for a shirt in the starting eleven. We've had great camping so far but it's still two months to the World Cup and when it's June, we will have the best players on the field.

"It doesn't matter whether you're 17 or 35 years old, where you're from or where you play, it's just those with the technical stuff that can give the best performance on the pitch that we care about.

"There is an improvement but for those that understand the business, it's a long time of hard work. It's not about bringing in a new coach and expect they play better because it takes some time to find the right players that would suit the style you want to use.

"Same time, you need to give a good chance to the ones that are there when to arrive to see if they are the best and at the same time also begin to search for new ones when you're not 100 percent sure of some positions.

"Even though some of the players are not performing at the level we hope but they also need a little bit of experience and they also need some time to improve."

The team's tactician further expressed disappointment in their loss from an advantage lead but has challenged his players to improve themselves.

"We knew we played against the number five in the world and we were the first to score them in six games this year," he continued.

"We've improved the team and had a good game but I am not happy that we lost.  The most important thing is that some players need to have better technique and stamina.

"They also need to work hard wherever they are to improve themselves and stay relevant to the team.  They know themselves that they need to step up their game and hopefully they can."

The African champions will continue their preparations with the 2019 Wafu Women's Cup scheduled for Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire in May.