Afcon 2017: Bertrand Traore puts improvement down to fitness

Betrand Traore scores Burkina Faso's second goal against Guinea-Bissau
Betrand Traore scores Burkina Faso's second goal against Guinea-Bissau

Burkina Faso forward Bertrand Traore says he is now fully fit after he played his best Africa Cup of Nations match in a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau.

Traore, on loan at Ajax from Chelsea, scored his team's second goal to help them reach the quarter-finals, having been off-key in his first two games.

"The first matches were not good but I was coming back from injury," he said.

"I was feeling better in the training sessions and I showed it in the game. I'm happy with my performance."

Burkina Faso have bounced back from a poor showing at the Nations Cup last time out - when they failed to win a game - to reach the last eight in Gabon as Group A winners.

It is a major return to form for the Burkinabe, who were runners-up in 2013, and they have done it despite an injury to key player Jonathan Pitroipa - the player of the tournament four years ago.

"We are improving, we played much better against Guinea-Bissau than we did in the first two games," said Traore.

"We stayed more compact and we were mentally strong - from the first to the 90th minute. It is a big credit to all the team.

"The best thing was to finish first in the group and we did that. Now we go back to Libreville, rest a bit then go back to work."

One issue Burkina Faso will have to deal with is the poor state of the pitch in Libreville, where their quarter-final will take place.

Traore admitted it was much easier to play in Franceville, where they faced Guinea-Bissau, but refused to make any excuses about conditions ahead of Saturday's last-eight match.

"The pitch in Franceville is better than in Libreville, we could play our football there. We like to have the ball on the ground, to play combinations - one and two-touch football.

"But we have to stay focused and play our way and everything will be fine."

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