Blanc: We won't take Romania lightly
Laurent Blanc has promised his team would not take tomorrow's opponents Romania lightly, despite having re-energised their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying bid with a 2-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina last month.
The rousing victory over France's strongest rivals in Group D helped dim memories of Les Bleus' miserable FIFA World Cup™, but France coach Blanc promised that his team would be fully focused on the job in hand at the Stade de France.
"There are no easy matches, the last World Cup already showed that," he said. The so-called little teams will always have chances in a match. We saw that against Belarus [who beat France 1-0 in their group opener]. We were the better side but we lost the match. I've seen that Romania aren't scared of France. I can assure you that France aren't scared of Romania either. There's no hierarchy."
Blanc expressed optimism over the chances that injured central midfielders Alou Diarra and Abou Diaby could feature in the game. Bordeaux captain Diarra, who skippered France in the win in Bosnia, withdrew from training on Wednesday after turning his ankle, while Arsenal's Diaby also has an ankle injury.
"The injured players risk being at my disposal for the match but there will be choices to make," said Blanc during a press conference. "I've been a bit more optimistic about Diaby since Thursday for the matches on Saturday and Tuesday [at home to Luxembourg]. It's very good news. And for Diarra, it's the same. You [the media] get worried too quickly."
Diaby sustained his injury in Arsenal's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea on Sunday and did not participate in a France training session until Thursday. Blanc can call on both Yoann Gourcuff and Samir Nasri, after the two playmakers missed the game in Sarajevo through suspension and injury respectively, but the coach refused to be drawn on their participation.
"I know that you've got very excited about the Yoann Gourcuff-Samir Nasri partnership," he told journalists. "You've attributed intentions to me that were not my own, but yours. I'm waiting to see if my whole squad is at my disposal. Since the beginning of the training camp, I've had ideas in my head that I've not shared."
The France squad was visited by a psychological profiler during the week and Blanc reiterated his call for the team to shake off the nerves and the tension that have led to some muted recent performances on their home pitch.
"We want to see our group play well and the Stade de France rocking, but the most important thing to take care of is the result," said Blanc. "So if there was all that, I'd be happy. I like to see my team play beautiful football. I reckon we have more chances of winning the match if we play beautiful football. We'll try to find out tomorrow."