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By ESPN Staff
Jun 16, 2014

Mikel frustrated by defensive Iran

John Obi Mikel was upset that Nigeria were unable to break down a defensively resolute Iran side.

John Obi Mikel has expressed disappointment at Iran's game plan and claimed they wanted to frustrate Nigeria after the sides played out a goalless draw in their 2014 World Cup Group F game.

The Chelsea midfielder expressed his unhappiness at the outcome and claimed Iran played for the draw while Nigeria wanted to win.

He told a news conference: "We are all disappointed. The first game of every tournament is very important. When you watch the way Iran played, they had 11 men behind the ball the entire game and it was hard for us to create chances.

"They sat back and it became difficult. It was a game we wanted to win, but they wanted to play a bit different." 

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Nigeria play Bosnia and Herzegovina in their next game and Mikel believes three points will be crucial.

"A draw is a bad result, but we still have two games to play. Next game, we have to make sure we are clinical in front of goal to win the game."

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi was more considered in his appraisal of his side's lack of cutting edge in front of goal, and admitted he knew Iran would set up to play a cautious game.

"We set out to finish the game in the first 20-25 minutes. When things weren't happening for us, frustration and anxiety set in, but this is football. You try again in the next game," he said.

"We want to change direction of play all the time, but I'm not happy because we were not overwhelming up front. But you have to respect Iran for carrying out their game plan.

"You never know in football. Some days it goes your way. Today, we didn't play badly, we just couldn't convert.

"In football, even the best coaches in the world are not going to tell you they're going to win before the game. In my country, we want to win at all costs. We didn't win, but it's not the end of the world. We will try to prepare for the next game and take it from there."

Meanwhile, Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama believes the Super Eagles' forthcoming game against Bosnia and Herzegovina will be like a final.

The Super Eagles face Argentina, one of the favourites to advance to the latter stages of the tournament, in their third and final Group F game and therefore must get points on the board while they can.

Enyeama said: "Bosnia is like a final match for us. We are going to go out there and see what we can achieve. We fall like a team and we win like a team."

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