Friday, June 8, 2012

Cabaye backs boss Blanc

France midfielder Yohan Cabaye has praised coach Laurent Blanc for reinvigorating a football nation in disarray and turning them into contenders at Euro 2012.

Les Bleus endured a disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign, bowing out of the group stage without a whimper as internal problems pulled the squad apart.

"He made us forget the last World Cup, which was a complete failure. He has instilled a group mentality and team spirit like you find in a club," Cabaye told BBC Sport.

Blanc had to start from scratch in his first game in charge against Norway after the entire World Cup squad had been banned.

He rebuilt the spirit in the France camp by introducing a new breed of stars, as well as allowing a number of suspended players to redeem themselves. The new regime helped France finish top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group.

"You can see the change on the pitch," added Cabaye.

"We have been winning matches and qualified directly for the Euros. Now the greater challenge is to perform well during the competition and to go as far as possible. It is important to do ourselves justice and be positive."
France stretched their unbeaten run to 21 games with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Estonia on Tuesday and go into Monday’s Group D opener against England as favourites.

Cabaye insisted France are taking nothing for granted ahead of the clash in Donetsk and fully expect a fierce battle against Roy Hodgson’s men.

"It is the first match and it is going to be very important. I hope we are going to play well and beat them, but I don't know if we are better than them," said the Newcastle star.

Ahead of the start of Euro 2012 don’t forget to check out the new bet365 Ray Winstone video over at the brand new bet365 Youtube channel.

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