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Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Blanc plans to wield axe

Soccernet staff

New France coach Laurent Blanc has admitted the task ahead of him is so great that he feels he is "heading towards suicide or the guillotine".

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Unveiled on Tuesday as the successor to the controversial Raymond Domenech, Blanc said he was starting with a clean sheet and nobody was safe.

"What bothers me is that, after the World Cup, a new coach should be able to lean on a hard core of players," he said. "This hard core is not even a melon's pip. My task is to find a hard core within this team.

"Everyone wishes me luck. I get the impression I'm heading toward suicide or the guillotine."

He said his first task was to meet with senior players Eric Abidal, Patrice Evra, William Gallas, Thierry Henry and Franck Ribery - reportedly the five main rebels - and establish who he can trust. "'I can't act like nothing happened in South Africa. It wouldn't go down well. I followed the events, as you all did, with a lot of sadness. I was outraged by certain behaviour. It's a delicate situation. There are meetings to be had.

"There are very few people who can tell you what really happened. I think I know a few of them. We will speak about the future, and about what happened in South Africa. I will make my choices, and perhaps among my choices there will be a sporting punishment that means certain players who were present in South Africa are not among my choices."

He explained he would not tolerate any situation as occurred in South Africa. "What shocked me the most, what disappointed me the most, was the behaviour of the squad during the public training session 48 hours before a match. The decision [to strike] was badly thought through."

Blanc concluded the failure to get beyond the group stage at Euro 2008 was the watershed. "At a certain point in time our national team could have said, 'We're going to the European Championship to win it', but I don't think we'll even be in the top 10 FIFA rankings now."

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