BATA - Ivory Coast have a better balance between work horses and match winners allied with a steely determination to end a long drought in the African Nations Cup, coach Herve Renard said on Tuesday.
"This is not the Ivory Coast of the past. There are a lot of new players who I'm sure not many of you knew about before this tournament," he told reporters ahead of Wednesday's semi-final against the Democratic Republic of Congo in Bata.
"These new players worked very hard in the preparations and showed me they are able to play in the starting line-up. We have a good balance between those who work hard and those with a lot of talent. I think this combination is perfect of the Ivory Coast."
Renard, who had previously complained of a defective team spirit with too many leading players pulling in different directions, said the bad experiences for many of his squad in previous Nations Cups was now proving useful.
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At the previous five Nations Cup tournaments, the Ivorians had started as favourites but crashed out on each occasion, earning them the moniker of "chokers".
"The players with a lot of experience have many bad experiences," Renard said. "But we seek to use the bad as a means to motivate and get success.
"We came here a fortnight ago with no expectations on us. No one was taking about us but this has changed over the last two weeks. Things change fast in football," added Renard, who won the Nations Cup three years ago when Zambia beat the Ivorians in the 2012 final on post match penalties.
"After our last two wins over Cameroon and Algeria, now we are the favourites of the bookmakers but that can be dangerous. It is also not important. What is important is what happens on the field.
"When we started this race I said we all start on the same line. Now we are only four left. But the best position, the only position is number one. We won't be satisfied with anything else."For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.