/ Euro 2012

French camp is at peace, claims Blanc

Updated: Friday, 22 Jun 2012 16:28 | Comments

Laurent Blanc has played down reports of unrest within his squad
Laurent Blanc has played down reports of unrest within his squad

Head coach Laurent Blanc insists there is "no conflict" in the France squad ahead of Saturday's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Spain in Donetsk.

Blanc did admit, though, that the dressing-room row among players which followed Tuesday's defeat by Sweden had delayed preparations for the meeting with the world and European champions.

The former Manchester United defender accepted that calm had to be restored within the group after the initial angry reaction to the setback which cost Les Bleus top spot behind England in Group D.

Blanc said: "There is no conflict. There were words exchanged after the game. There was a reaction. Some players were very angry. That is true.

"Certain things were said. We acted on those. People are worked up and angry after a defeat and there were raised voices.

"We took a bit of time to calm everyone down and coming back to Donetsk from Kiev to our base camp allowed us to do that and be a bit more at peace.

"It did delay us in terms of when we could start preparing for the game with Spain but you have priorities that have to be dealt with.
"But since Wednesday everything has been about working towards the game with Spain.

"Even though we were disappointed on Tuesday, the fact is we have still qualified for the semi-finals. We haven't had to pack our bags and go home."

Blanc is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing his side if they are to cause an upset against Spain.

He said: "Normally we try to adapt as little as possible to our opponents and play to our own strengths, but we are going to be coming up against a very good side.

"Spain are a little bit further on than us and will have 65 to 70% of the possession in a game. That is a problem for any side to deal with.

"They have great players who play for great clubs in Barcelona and Real Madrid. From a fan's perspective, it is a delight to watch them play.

"But Croatia and Italy showed a lot of solidarity, commitment and willingness against them and they are the qualities we will need to show if we are to have a chance of winning the game."

Blanc, whose side had been unbeaten in 23 games before losing to Sweden, believes he will have no need to motivate his players against Spain.

He said: "I don't think we had the commitment we needed to show in the game with Sweden and, if we have another off day like that, the outcome will be worse.

"But I should not have to motivate my players for this game. If they are not motivated to play Spain, they do not understand what it is all about."

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is poised to replace the suspended Philippe Mexes, and Blanc is confident the 26-year-old will be up to the task.

He said: "It is a big chance for him. We have only three central defenders and I always said that if we got through the group that Laurent would have a role to play.

"It is a chance for him. He will be very well prepared. He was very close to getting into the starting XI, and now that will happen."

Apart from Mexes, Blanc has a full squad to choose from with Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery shaking off knocks suffered against the Swedes.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Live!
Powered by NewsWhip