Malabo: Getting Yaya Toure to reproduce his club form at international level is a near impossible task, Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard admitted on Tuesday.
The reigning African footballer of the year was deployed deep in midfield in the Elephants` 1-1 draw with Mali in Malabo at the weekend, far away from the position in which he so often hurts opponents when starring for English champions Manchester City.
The younger of the Toure brothers has not had the hoped for influence on the Ivory Coast side so far at this Cup of Nations, leaving the Elephants to contemplate a decisive match against Cameroon on Wednesday in which qualification for the quarter-finals is at stake.
But when asked about the positioning of his captain, Renard said: "The team of Ivory Coast is not Manchester City. The potential of the player is not the same.
"At City there are a lot of players able to defend very well and bring the ball and build the game, notably Fernandinho who works like a madman alongside him.
"For us it is a bit different, which is why we ask him to do a different job, although he was very comfortable because he was used to doing that earlier in his career, especially at Barcelona."
However, Renard insisted that there have been no disagreements within the camp about how best to approach a match in which a defeat will see them eliminated, and a draw may not be enough either depending on the result of the other Group D game between Mali and Guinea.
"Players like him and Kolo (Toure) are not difficult to manage. You ask them to play somewhere and they do it, because they are thinking about the team," added the Frenchman.
"Other players who don`t have the same experience think they know it all and won`t understand."
Renard has brought a young squad to these finals in Equatorial Guinea, albeit one that includes a sprinkling of more established European-based stars.
But he has continually insisted that there can only be modest expectations of a team that scraped through qualifying behind a Cameroon team also in transition.
"Even if you are in a transition situation it is very important for the likes of the Ivory Coast and Cameroon to reach the quarter-finals," the former Zambia coach said while preaching patience.
"But Nigeria and Egypt are not even here. Cameroon were not there in 2012 and 2013 but life went on. In football you can`t panic when something is not very good.
"I was lucky in Zambia because I had a fantastic president. If you are under pressure and want to change coach every three months I don`t think you can achieve something very good."
Of the game itself he added: "It might not be the most beautiful spectacle at a Cup of Nations, but it`s always easier to play against Cameroon than to go to a country who are not so renowned on a difficult pitch."