Like Mourinho like Peseiro: How Portuguese tactician is silencing his critics

Like Mourinho like Peseiro: How Portuguese tactician is silencing his critics


José Peseiro is silently proving his doubters wrong with some impressive defensive performance by the Super Eagles

Super Eagles coach José Peseiro is fast becoming a fan favourite after delivering another impressive win for Nigeria at the ongoing African Cup of Nations.

Two goals (one in each half) from Ademola Lookman was enough as the Super Eagles qualified for the quarterfinals at the expense of Cameroon.


The Super Eagles of Nigeria dominated Cameroon, running out 2-0 winners, thanks to another tactical masterclass by Jose Peseiro.


AFCON 2023: Can the Super Eagles' defence deliver a fourth African title?

While Jose Peseiro’s imperfect squad management and his players’ suboptimal final-third execution leave much to be desired, the team’s defensive organisation stands them in good stead at the Africa Cup of Nations.


Has Peseiro turned things around for the Super Eagles?

Peseiro in the dugout for Nigeria at AFCON |Pulsesports.ng

Peseiro in the dugout for Nigeria at AFCON |Photo Credit: Imago

Before AFCON commenced, the Super Eagles lost 2-0 to Guinea in their last warm-up match preceding the tournament, leaving Nigerians angry at Peseiro’s tactics.

Moreover, the Nigerian team led by José Peseiro failed to win in their last two qualifiers, drawing 1-1 with minors Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

This poor run of form saw many Nigerian football fans calling for Peseiro’s sack. Even the NFF said they would have loved to part ways with the Portuguese but couldn’t afford to pay him off.

Sports Minister Senator John Uwan Enoh brokered a peace deal between the NFF and the Super Eagles manager before AFCON.

Super Eagles’ performance at AFCON so far

Osimhen and Lookman celebrate after scoring against Cameroon |Pulsesports.ng

Osimhen and Lookman celebrate after scoring against Cameroon |Photo Credit: Imago

Nigeria began the competition with a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea. This drew criticism from many fans, who expected the Super Eagles to take all three points, especially with the numerous chances the team created.

Peseiro, however, began to impress Nigerians with his tactical prowess during the game against host Ivory Coast.

The Portuguese switched to a defensive approach, with three at the back. This defence-first approach won Nigeria all three points – with captain Troost-Ekong scoring from the penalty spot.

Nigeria defeated Guinea Bissau 1-0 to book a place in the round of 16 against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Again, Peseiro borrowed a leaf from his compatriot José Mourinho, and the Super Eagles water-tight defence kept another clean sheet in a 2-0 victory.

Mourinho wants to see Nigeria in the final  

José Mourinho recently tuned down a deal to manage in Saudi Arabia |Pulsesports.ng

José Mourinho recently tuned down a deal to manage in Saudi Arabia |Photo Credit: Imago

Former Chelsea and Real Madrid gaffer José Mourinho told Football.com that he would love to see the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the final of AFCON.

Mourinho is well-known for his time at Chelsea where a defence-first approach won them the league, losing just four games the entire season. He replicated such feat at Inter Milan, leading the Nerazzurris to a historic treble in 2010.

AFCON 2023: I’d like to see Nigeria in the final - José Mourinho

“It’s no coincidence that the biggest stars in today’s big English, German, and Spanish teams come from Africa”


Is a three-man defence Nigeria's best bet for glory?

It now seems clear that Peseiro is stuck on playing a three-at-the-back system, but do the pros really outweigh the cons?


“I hope you won’t hold this against me if I say that I would like to see the Nigerian team, coached by my compatriot José Peseiro, or the Egyptian team, led by Rui Vitória, in that final. 

“And I hope that Pedro Gonçalves and his Angola team go as far as possible. None of them will have an easy task, but who knows, maybe the Portuguese will spring a surprise here too,” Mourinho said.

Up Next – Super Eagles face Angola 

Nigeria’s next game is against a fluid Angola side that have been outstanding in the competition so far. The oil-rich nation defeated Namibia 3-0 to book a quarterfinal place against the Super Eagles.

It would be an interesting matchup between a defensive-minded Super Eagles side and an Angolan side favouring free-flowing football.

With the attacking firepower in the Super Eagles team, when this side finally clicks, very few teams in world football would be able to stop them. 

Will Peseiro deliver Nigeria’s fourth AFCON title? Fingers crossed.



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