BATA, Equatorial Guinea (REUTERS) - Herve Renard is patently a hard man to please. There was no smile from the victorious Ivory Coast coach after his team's dominant 3-1 win over Democratic Republic of Congo to book a spot in the African Nations Cup final.
The Frenchman won the trophy with Zambia three years ago and is on course to lift it again with a powerful squad, becoming the first coach to claim the Nations Cup with different countries.
But he made clear his discontent with the manner of the triumph over DR Congo in Wednesday's semi-final, even if the Ivorians were the better, stronger and cleverer team.
"That might be the way you saw it but I didn't like this game," he told reporters. "We didn't do all the things right as we should, maybe at times we didn't show enough respect to our opponent.
If the players are not listening they can get caught out," he added, maintaining his long-standing complaint about the star-studded Ivorians pulling in different directions.
"I was worried that playing a fifth game in this tournament would prove very tough but the most important is that we reached the final. We didn't have the same level in the two halves and DR Congo were always dangerous on the counter-attack.
"I said to the players at half-time they were not playing like they realised this was a match to get to the final of the Nations Cup. They didn't show enough determination in the first half like you should in a semi-final. Maybe there weren't enough spectators to give it the right atmosphere."
Goals from Yaya Toure and Gervinho helped steer Ivory Coast see off their opponents. Toure blasted home a missile-like shot after 21 minutes to give the Ivorians the lead but a handball allowed Dieumerci Mbokani to equalise from the penalty spot three minutes later.
Gervinho had an effort cleared off the line in the 40th minute but the Ivorians won back the ball and caught the Congolese defence cold with Wilfried Bony setting up Gervinho to sweep home less than a minute later. Defender Wilfried Kanon added a third midway through the second half with a rebound from a corner.
Ivory Coast will play Equatorial Guinea or Ghana in Sunday's decider.