Ribery says France should not take things easy against Ukraine

The 30-year-old wants his side not to be hesitant during its World Cup playoff in Kiev on Friday, while also praising the impact Pep Guardiola has had on his form at Bayern.
Franck Ribery has called for his France teammates to approach the World Cup playoff against Ukraine without any fear.

Both the French and Ukrainian sides finished second in their World Cup qualifying groups, with the first leg of their subsequent playoff taking place in Kiev on Friday.

And, while Ribery admits there is plenty of pressure surrounding the playoff, the Bayern Munich man wants France to go into the game with confidence.

"These games are special. It's surrounded by a difficult context. Now, we need to play with no pressure. We should not be scared," he told reporters.

Ukraine has not conceded in their last seven matches and has not lost since October 2012.

Ribery consequently insisted Ukraine must be respected. "It's going to be two difficult games," he said. "We should not take things easy against this team or say to ourselves 'We are already in Brazil.'

"They are very strong defensively. They didn't concede many goals. They play well in counterattack. We need to be ready and get a good result there. Then, we will have to manage the game at home well."

Ribery, who has nine goals for Bayern this season in all competitions, has also paid tribute to his club manager Pep Guardiola for his fine form.

The 30-year-old has been nominated for the Ballon d'Or award and hailed the impact Guardiola has made since arriving at the Allianz Arena.

"My confidence comes from the appointment of Guardiola, that helped me a lot," he added. "He is a coach who says to me every day that I have to try my luck more and shoot more on goal.

"I tended to pass the ball at training two meters away from the goals and he said: 'You should have scored, you should have shot.' That's confidence. Since he joined the club, I have scored goals for Bayern and the French national team. Hopefully, it will continue."