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Football | Afcon

Vahid Halilhodzic © Backpagepix

I have no regrets - Algeria coach



Algeria's vastly experienced coach Vahid Halilhodzic says he has no regrets over his tactics despite his team falling at the first Africa Cup of Nations hurdle to Tunisia.

Algeria were undone when Youssef Msakni popped up with a brilliant strike to settle the cagey Group D opener 1-0 and leave Algeria with work to do if they are to make the quarterfinals.

"We had 15 shots at goal, they had four, we ran further, we had 10% more possession, we had all the match statistics in our favour, but we lost.

"It's the reality of the result that really hurts us. The buck stops with me, it's the fault of Vahid, leave the players out of it," he told a press conference Thursday.

He added: "I've got no regrets over my player selection, the set-up largely dominated the game.

"I can never be satisfied when we lose ... but I can't criticise the players for their commitment, they gave everything."

However, he highlighted one area where his team were found wanting.

"There was a little bit of naivety – a more experienced team would never have conceded that goal.

"There are different stages of growing, no team has a smooth progression, sometimes there are little or big defeats."

With a win required over Togo, who share the foot of the table with Algeria after their 2-1 loss to Halilhodzic's former team Ivory Coast, changes are in the air.

"Perhaps there will be changes in order to take risks, even if in the final 20 minutes I take a chance and stick on four strikers."

He suggested the air of euphoria back in Algeria when his team qualified had led to the creation of false expectations.

"Everywhere people were saying 'we're going to win the Nations Cup'.

"On my side I said we could go very far or still get knocked out in the first round.

"This ambition to win the competition is not unnatural, but a little artificial. It has created an atmosphere which has, in turn, created pressure.

"I know the Nations Cup, so I'm not surprised."

Algeria meet Togo here on Saturday, with Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast looming four days later.

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