Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots believes attacking more would help his side overcome Morocco in the final matchday of the 2018 Fifa World Cup holding in Abidjan on Saturday November 11.
At stake, a ticket to the tournament from Group C, which has been reduced to a two-horse race between the Atlas Lions on 9 points and the Elephants on 8.
Besides a few cases of absentees, Ivory Coast have almost a full house ready for the cracker, which has been tagged ‘Final’ by the local media.
“We have some few absentees such as Lamine Kone, Jean Michel Seri and Seri Bailly, however, those available are 200 per cent fit and motivated for the game,” Wilmots said at a press conference in Abidjan on Tuesday.
When asked about his main strategy to surmount the North Africans, the Belgian coach said his team had been struggling in the World Cup qualifiers because of lack of goals.
“We know our problem and we have been working hard to solve it. We need to score goals and therefore we will be focusing on the attack when we play Morocco. We need to press hard to expect an early breakthrough in the game,” He said.
Former Arsenal winger Gervinho is one of the players Wilmots will be counting on to pull the strings on Saturday, however, the 30-year-old, who now plies his trade at Hebei China Fortune FC, has been reported to be dragging a sprain.
“Gervinho is around. He needs to pass a last fitness test but I believe he would be alright and available. He is a player who can expose and change the fate of a game within few minutes. We hope that day would be his day,” he said.
Asked if he is worried that Morocco coach Herve Renard could be a huge problem due to the Frenchman’s knowledge of the team, having led them to clinch the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea, Wilmots fumed.
“Scared of what? I have never seen a coach score goals during a match. It is the players’ job. We are not afraid of him. We are playing at home why should we be afraid of anybody? We shall see that day.”
However, the 48-year-old former attacking midfielder, acknowledged the strength of the Atlas Lions in all the departments of the game – from defence to attack – thanks to their long time of playing together. But he cited one weakness.
“Don’t forget the team has been together for a long time and that it is growing old. We could exploit that with our relatively younger outfit,” Wilmots said.
Morocco are expected to travel to Ivory Coast on Wednesday, to be accompanied by 8000 supporters, according to the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.