Taye Taiwo says Nigeria failed at the World Cup because new coach Lars Lagerback did not know the players enough.
Nigeria were eliminated in the group stages with just one point from three games.
The Super Eagles drew 2_2 against South Korea in their final group game, but earlier losses to Argentina and Greece sealed their fate.
“It was a huge disappointment because we have very good players and we could have done a lot better. But you can’t pull off a miracle when you have a coach who’s been appointed just before the tournament,” Taiwo said in an interview with FIFA.com.
“[Lars Lagerback] just about knew the main players, but it takes time to get to know all the players, in which system they feel most comfortable, how to position them, who plays well together and how to get the best mix between experience and youth.”
Nigeria looked set to advance when they went in front against Greece in their second group game, but a red card to midfielder Sani Kaita changed things and the Super Eagles went on to lose 2_1.
Taiwo says it would be ‘stupid’ to blame the loss on Kaita’s dismissal.
“It would be stupid to think we were knocked out because of Sani Keita’s red card [against Greece]. What makes us regret it all even more is that our group wasn’t that tough.”
Taiwo was left out of Nigeria’s opening African Nations Cup qualifier against Madagascar despite being one of the most in_form players in Europe with two goals for Olympic Marseille.