sport

Toure: Veterans are important

Yaya Toure has revealed how Ivory Coast veterans inspired the players to victory over Japan on Saturday.

The African side registered a 2-1 victory in their opening Group C game of the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

Japan took the lead in Recife through Keisuke Honda on 16 minutes, but second-half goals from Wilfried Bony and Gervinho saw Ivory Coast come back to pick up all three points.

Neither Didier Drogba nor Kolo Toure started the match, but both spoke to the players before the game to gear them up for the contest.

Manchester City midfielder Toure has now underlined the importance of the veteran players in the dressing room.

\"Before the game, we felt a lot of nerves and anxiety," he said. "There was a lot of apprehension.

\"All the old players, starting with Kolo and Didier, spoke to both gee up and reassure everyone. Their words were strong. There was a lot of emotion in the room.

"It was particularly important that neither Didier nor Kolo were starting the game. They reiterated the need to prove that the team was too good to write off.

"I saw a flame rise up in the eyes of some of the youngsters.

\"When we returned to the dressing room at half-time, there was no panic: no need for the grand speech that often doesn't help anyway in these cases.\"