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Cantona: Blanc the right man for PSG

June 26, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Eric Cantona has backed new Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc as the right man for the job after his confirmation as Carlo Ancelotti's successor.

Eric Cantona
GettyImagesEric Cantona believes Blanc is the right man for the job

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When Blanc's appointment was announced on Tuesday, a statement from the Ligue 1 champions said he would need "to continue down the path" that had led to a first title since 1994.

Having played with and against Blanc during his career, Cantona, 47, told RMC Radio the ex-Bordeaux and France coach's achievements as a player at clubs including Barcelona, Inter Milan and Manchester United would serve him well in his new post.

"He was a great player, who has a lot of experience, who played with many clubs in different countries," Cantona said. "He's got experience as a player and as a man.

"He also got some very good results as a coach. I think he's just the coach you need at a club that you're trying to improve."

Given the difficult end to his role with France after a Euro 2012 campaign plagued by squad indiscipline, questions have been raised about whether Blanc can handle PSG's allegedly combustible dressing-room.

But Cantona is confident the former defender, who took Bordeaux to runners-up spot and then the Ligue 1 title in his first two seasons in the dugout, has the character to handle even the most tempestuous players.

"We played together for a long time. He has a lot of charisma, is very calm and, in spite of that, possesses real personality," he said. "He inspires respect. He knows football very well, so it's good that it's Laurent Blanc."

Despite support for him from several quarters, dissenting voices see Blanc's appointment as a default option after PSG had failed to secure reported targets Andre Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup, Guus Hiddink and Fabio Capello.

Former Marseille president Pape Diouf told RMC: "This unanimity is a facade. When the Qataris took over PSG, French football expected to get something back from all that spending.

"Today, we see that those same Qataris prefer to get their players from abroad. Supporting Laurent Blanc is a way for French football to claim a piece of the cake. It's a little hypocritical.

"Even if I'm among those who think Blanc has the qualities to be a coach, you have to acknowledge that, if the Parisians had found the coach they wanted to appoint, Blanc would undoubtedly not be there."