Malabo, Equatorial Guinea: Yaya Toure has not been playing to the same standard for Ivory Coast at the African Nations Cup as he does for club side Manchester City because of the different quality of the players around, coach Herve Renard argued on Tuesday.
The Ivory Coast captain has looked a frequently frustrated figure in Equatorial Guinea as his under-performing national team have twice been forced to come from behind to share the spoils in their two Group D matches.
“Ivory Coast is not Manchester City. The potential of players is not the same,” said the French-born coach of the eve of their final Group D game against Cameroon in Malabo on Wednesday.
“At City, there are players who can defend very well and create at the same time. With us it is different, so we asked him to do a different job.”
Renard says Toure, who earlier this month was named African Footballer of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time in a row, has proven adaptable and he sits a little deeper in midfield than he does in the Premier League.
“It`s easy to work with players of his calibre because you can ask a lot of things of them if you explain to them what you need and why. It`s easier with players of this calibre than with players who have not experienced much and think they already know everything,” added Renard, giving away some of the frustrations of an Ivorian camp that he previously described as “having too many kings”.
Wednesday’s final matches in Group D hold the potential of a stalemate that might require the drawing of lots to determine who progresses. All four games in the group so far have ended in 1-1 draws.