Afcon 2021: Sadio Mane happy to change playing style to help Senegal

3 months ago 3163
Sadio Mane in action for SenegalSadio Mane has scored two goals for Senegal at the Nations Cup, and set up another

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane says he is happy to make sacrifices and be more defensive if it helps Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mane played a key role in the Teranga Lions' 3-1 win over Equatorial Guinea in Sunday's Nations Cup quarter-final to set up a last-four game against Burkina Faso.

As well as setting up the opening goal for Famara Diedhiou, Mane appeared all over the pitch to help Senegal put in their best performance of the finals so far.

"It's my job [to be ready to play everywhere]. I have to do it because I think it's really important for me," the 29-year-old said after the game.

"It's important for the boys to make sure we win the game, so to win you have to do everything and make all the sacrifices necessary."

Many saw Sunday's performance as Senegal's best yet in Cameroon, but Mane was keen to point out all their results at the tournament have been important.

"I think all the games, for me, are the best. Of course I know people always look for nice football, try to create chances and score and that's normal," he added.

"But as a football player you can't expect this all the time. Doing this without winning makes no sense."

Senegal finished runners-up at the last Nations Cup in 2019, and Mane admits the West Africans have to continue improving if they are to reach a second consecutive final.

"We have enough time to prepare, see the videos and improve because it's important," he explained.

Objective 'is to win first Afcon'

Senegal Football Federation president Augustin SenghorSenegal Football Federation president Augustin Senghor

Meanwhile, Senegal Football Federation president Augustin Senghor has challenged his team to go out and lift the Nations Cup trophy on Sunday, 6 February.

"I think we can go further than the semi-final and have one objective - win the trophy for the first time," he told BBC Sport Africa.

"When we left our country it was not to go to the semi-final but to the final and to win our first Afcon.

"We continue to work hard, to play with talent but also humility, respecting all our opponents.

"Senegal is increasing its level match after match and that is important because the first game people were saying we were not scoring many goals, but today we scored three goals."

Despite Senghor's words, Mane says that he does not feel any extra pressure.

"I think he [Senghor] just says he's hoping [we can win the trophy]," Mane insisted.

"But as a player I think we are mature enough to handle this and to take on board this kind of pressure.

"We're gonna take [it] game by game, but we have an objective which is to go far, and why not win if we can win."

Senegal have twice reached the Nations Cup final and lost on both occasions. In 2002 in Mali it was on penalties to Cameroon and then in 2019 it was 1-0 to Algeria in Egypt.

Source Article