Super Eagles stand-in captain, William Troost-Ekong believes the team deserved more from the game after a brilliant second half performance.
The Watford defender in the post-match interview said the boys showed aggression and will.
“I thought it was a good performance from the boys bearing in mind that we’ve only been working under our new head coach for maybe 5 or 6 training sessions,” Ekong told reporters
“It was an improvement from what we showed against Mexico especially in the first half, against a strong Ecuador team, I think we gave them a good game and in my opinion, I think we deserved a little bit more in the end.
” Of course for us the two important games are the next two in Africa and hopefully we would have gotten rid of all the small mistakes by the time we play against Sierria Leone next week.
The 28-year-old when asked to sum up the game said that:
” I think the start of the game definitely was for Ecuador and of course they took the momentum with the early goal,
“Playing at home here, it seems like we were definitely away, it was an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone,
” Great to see so many Ecuador fans, and even our Nigerian fans were there,
“they started the game off very well and as the game went on and at the end of the first half we managed to get some control and definitely in the second half we were dominant and there were one or two chances for Ecuador again just because we were really pushing on, trying to get an equalizer,
“Overall, I think it was a good performance and like I said, we deserved a little bit more.”
Nigeria sttuggled in the early minutes of the game, conceding the only goal of the match just 3 minutes into the game.
However, the Super Eagles grew into the game, applied more pressure and dominated the rest of the match while trying to find a leveller
“The coach told us that we have to try to push on especially from the second half of the first half, from the last 15 minutes of the first half, we tried to press a little bit higher, we tried to force Ecuador to play some more longer balls and also we took a little bit more risk by playing 1 against 1 over the pitch to try and get the ball and get better press” Ekong said in response to the halftime pep talk the head coach had with the squad
“Definitely in the second half, you could see when Ecuador has the ball and they weren’t as comfortable and they didn’t have as much time that was the message, so we could try and get the ball and take a breather,
” Maybe we stared the game off a little bit with too much respect, we know they’re a very good team and that kind of helped them a little bit,
“In the second half, we came out a little bit more daring and we ended up doing better.”
Furthermore, Ekong was asked if the team took learnings from Mexico’s match into this game and would we see that in AFCON qualifiers
“Yes, 100%, I think that’s the main thing, we came here for this [improvement] in the two games” Ekong replied
” Of course, we want to win as we said against Mexico, we want to be some of the best teams in South America that’s what we came here to do,
“But the main thing is that you want to try and improve the game, understand what the new coach wants from us, I think we also have to remind everyone that we came here with 8 or 9 players who’ve only played in NPFL, one made a debut tonight, one started,
“We’ve to be proud of those boys who made their debut and I think we can be proud of the wat thar we’ve adapted and understood what the coach wants from us so early and of course there’s plenty of things we need to improve, including the set piece, difficult in the Mexico game as well,
“These are the kind of games you want to play so that you can find out your weaknesses and we’ll definitely be prepared better when we play against Sierria Leone.” Ekong added.
The former Udinise defender also spoke on the effects of ex-international, Finidi George in the coaching team
” It’s amazing, my time here I used to play alongside some legends, Joseph Yobo, Finidi George, John Obi Mikel, Ahned Musa, you name them..
It’s good to have that kind if experience in and around the team. Like I said, we’ve got a very young team, I think I’m one of the oldest palyers and I’m 28 so that says enough about our squad, it’s great to have ex-internationals around the team and that will help Nigeria football in future.”
William Troost-Ekong is expected to be the stand-in captain in AFCON qualifier games against Sierria Leone and São Tome and Principe on June 9 and 13 respectively.