Blanc hails 'turning point' after France win

France coach Laurent Blanc has told his side that last night's victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina "has to be the turning point".

Les Bleus had struggled to recover from a dispiriting World Cup campaign, losing 2-1 in Norway last month with a shadow squad - after Blanc axed all the players involved in South Africa - and then 1-0 at home to Belarus on Friday in their opening qualifier for Euro 2012.

But goals from Karim Benzema and new captain Florent Malouda earned them a 2-0 success in Sarajevo and Blanc is adamant they must push on.

"After Belarus, I told the players that they hadn't, unfortunately, made the most of the good things they did during the game," he said. "I can no longer say that.

"They were beyond reproach, not only their performance but also their spirit, and they were rewarded.

"Before the match I told them they must earn at least a point. We ended up taking two more and I am very happy.

"After our defeat at the Stade de France, I read that it was 'catastrophic'. This time, I will not read that it is fantastic, but this can be the start of something good."

The manner of his side's all-round performance delighted Blanc, and he reserved special praise for Benzema after the Real Madrid man eventually broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute, lashing home Gael Clichy's cross.

"The aim was to prevent the Bosnian midfield and attack linking up. That was one key factor, but not the only one," said Blanc.

"We also used the ball very well. In contrast to Friday, we attacked very quickly. That allowed us to create more space, which is what Karim likes.

"We know he is not yet at his best, but he is still an important player. He has the potential to score goals and in this squad, aside from him, there are not many like that. He lifted us and caused our opponents to lose confidence.

"After the goal, I sensed that our players became more confident and we concentrated on not conceding goals. It was good. It has to be the turning point."

Malouda warned that no return to the failings of the summer will be tolerated, telling L'Equipe: "We must not drop back to that level.

"We have to build on this. We are behind schedule. We must be very ambitious and set our sights on first place."

On last night's win, the Chelsea winger added: "Karim's goal lifted a weight from us and mine killed them off."

Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna echoed his team-mate's thoughts, saying: "I hope it is the start of a good story.

"Everyone did their duty defensively and everyone tried to offer a little more going forward. It is when we play like that that we can pose problems to teams and our confidence returns."

Lille defender Adil Rami has been one of the stand-out performers amid the slow start to Blanc's new era, and he said: "We are getting better.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground, but if we continue in this spirit, we can go far."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent