Domenech happy guillotine is not in service

September 9, 2008

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, Sept 9 (Reuters) - France's under-fire coach Raymond Domenech said his critics would have sent him to the guillotine in another era.

"You like the smell of blood," Domenech told reporters as he prepared for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Serbia in the wake of last weekend's shock 3-1 defeat by Austria.

"I'm happy the guillotine does no longer exist, otherwise some of you would have been delighted to send me there," he added. "I didn't kill anybody. Maybe if I had, I would have benefited from mitigating circumstances."

Criticism of Domenech escalated since his team opened their qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup with their embarrassing defeat by Austria in Vienna on Saturday.

"Suddenly we get the impression that there's a revolution," Domenech told a news conference at the team's base outside Paris.

"We'll have to fight in every match, starting with Wednesday's, from which we need three points."

French media have speculated the abrasive Domenech would lose his job if the World Cup runners-up failed to beat Serbia in their next Group Seven match at the Stade de France.

The 56-year-old, who has been under pressure since France left Euro 2008 with just one point and one goal from three group matches, has had a difficult relationship with some players and the media for years.

French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes decided in July that Domenech would stay on despite his team's Euro 2008 flop but said the coach needed to get results.

"I'd like to remind you that we have played just one qualifier," Domenech said on Tuesday. "We lost our first away match, it's not nice, but there are still 27 points to play for."

A rejuvenated France side struggled against Austria, looking nervous in defence and conceding three goals from as many set pieces.

"We need three points against Serbia," striker and captain Thierry Henry told reporters on Tuesday. "Every defeat hurts but we must turn the page and bounce back. We realise it will not be easy."