mikel

Mikel Expects Tough Denmark Clash, Backs Conte For Chelsea Success

Nigeria captain Mikel Obi is confident but not underrating Denmark despite the Europeans' 4-0 thrashing from Brazil.

The Olympic Eagles face Denmark Saturday night for a place in the semi-finals of the men's football event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Nigeria, who won Olympic gold at the Atlanta 1996 Games, topped their group despite a 2-0 defeat in their final match against Colombia when they rested several players.

The last time Nigeria U-23s and Denmank met earlier this year in a friendly,  the Europeans trounced the African U-23 champions 6-2 in Suwon, Korea.

But Mikel is confident his side can seal a semi-final berth on Wednesday against either Portugal or Germany, who meet at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia at 5pm.

"It is going to be a difficult game against Denmark," Mikel said at the pre-match press conference.

 "It is going to be one of those games where if you lose concentration you are out so we have to make sure we are fully concentrated.

"We have to make sure we dictate the game and are the ones always on top of the game. We have to play very well tomorrow, end of, if we want to progress. But if we did not think we could win we would be back in Nigeria."

 Mikel is also convinced Chelsea will play a completely different brand of football under new manager Antonio Conte next season.

The midfielder is focused on Nigeria's Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's football quarterfinal with Denmark at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador on Saturday at 8pm Nigerian time, hoping to go all the way to the gold medal before returning to his club side Chelsea.

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When he does go back to London, the 29-year-old expects to be joining a completely different side under Conte, who took over at Chelsea in August. And he will be watching the Blues' English Premier League opener against West Ham United on Monday night very closely.

"The new manager is an experienced manager, a great tactician," Mikel said. "He has come in to change the side, change the way we play totally.

"It will take time for the players to adjust. But from the games I have seen in pre-season I think they have adjusted very well.

"I am looking forward to the start of the season and looking forward to seeing how we play the first game and hopefully we will start very well.

"Pre-season has gone well so far. The team is in good shape."

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