Blanc: I'm no magician

Blanc: I'm no magician

New France coach Laurent Blanc insists he will walk away if he feels he has failed in his mission, but has urged France fans to realise he is “not a magician”.

Blanc has signed a two-year deal at the helm of Les Bleus and his regime is set to be vastly different from that of his predecessor Raymond Domenech, who many felt should have gone long before this summer.

Domenech was heavily criticised throughout his controversial six-year reign as he struggled to qualify Les Bleus for two World Cups and Euro 2008 and, although France reached the final in 2006, they crashed out at the group stages in the two subsequent competitions.

Blanc claims there is no chance of him staying put if he can do no better.

“It’s Euro 2012 where I’m heading for,” he said. “I haven’t signed for four years as certain people have written. I have signed for two years.

“After, if we qualify and if we have a good Euro, we can maybe discuss renewing it for two years.

“I will be judged on results. It’s not my thing to continue when I have failed.

“If I don’t manage to be authoritative with the group that I choose, I will go to see the Federation and will tell them that I am leaving.”

In a lengthy and frank interview with French dailies L’Equipe and Le Parisien, Blanc admitted he does not have all the answers but believes he can bring back some respectability to the France team.

“I am not a magician,” he continued. “If we want to become credible again, we have to change things...by changing the criteria of selection which have been ours these last 10 years.

“I will keep as fundamental criteria the spirit, behaviour, commitment to the shirt. That’s all vital.

“Those that don’t have it, that don’t want it, let them go.”

Blanc has instantly stamped his mark, banning all 23 members of France’s World Cup squad from the upcoming friendly against Norway, with their replacements set to be announced on August 5.

The former Bordeaux coach says he was stunned by what happened in South Africa, when the squad refused to train in support of team-mate Nicolas Anelka, who had been sent home in disgrace after insulting Domenech.

However, Blanc, who was a key part of the France team which triumphed in both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, insists the players’ suspension is punishment enough and wants a line to be drawn under the matter.

“For me, everyone is responsible for what happened that afternoon,” he said.

“I found myself by chance in front of the television. I became glued to the television during that whole episode.

“Like most French people, I was deeply upset and shocked to see what happened that notorious afternoon. I think the behaviour of the France team was unacceptable. They put the interest of their friend above the interest of the team.

“I want everything to be settled on August 5.

“We can’t hide what happened in South Africa but we have to see to it that it doesn’t punish us. What’s essential is to start again on a new page.

“What I don’t want is for it to rumble on for the whole of the month of August. The sporting sanction was taken with the non-selection of the 23 from the World Cup for the friendly against Norway. I would like it to end here.”

Blanc’s job starts in earnest with the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers in September and he knows his next squad is likely to have a very different look.

Despite his authoritarian stance, Blanc will not come down tough on Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, who are currently being quizzed by police about their private life.

“I’m not deluding myself, there are maybe one, two, three, six who have the chance to still be there (in September),” continued the 44-year-old.

“Norway isn’t a gift. But for certain players, it’s their chance to capitalise on.

“Judicial enquiries are very long. I am here for two years. And Ribery and Benzema are among the players who are potentially very influential in the team.

“You have to respect the presumption of innocence, and the interest of the France team has to be fundamental.”

However, Blanc claims no-one is indispensable, apart perhaps from Lyon shotstopper Hugo Lloris.

He said: “No. If you can name me one, bravo, because I really don’t see one, apart from the goalkeeper.”

Blanc also revealed he will earn between one and 1.2million euros a year plus bonuses.

“It’s equivalent to what coach of a mid-table Ligue 1 club would earn and less than what is done abroad,” said the former Manchester United defender.

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