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Blanc delighted with Menez display and relieved to finally earn tournament win

Having been promoted to the starting lineup, the winger looked full of confidence as he scored in Les Bleus' victory, which was their first in a major finals for six years

France coach Laurent Blanc praised the performance of Jeremy Menez in his side’s 2-0 victory over Ukraine on Friday.

The Paris Saint-Germain winger was called up to the starting XI in place of Florent Malouda and produced a confident performance, bagging France’s opener.

Les Bleus look in good shape to qualify from Group D, and Blanc was impressed with Menez, who he picked to exploit the space behind the Ukraine defence.

“We really studied the Ukrainian side very well and they do leave a lot of space in behind,” he told reporters after the game.

“They like to play football, but there are imbalances at the back and there are spaces you can take advantage of.

“We’ve got quick players and Jeremy is one of those. We know he’s a very good player and he’s gaining confidence at international level. Once he gets there, he’ll really be able to show us the full extent of his capabilities. It was a very encouraging display from him.”

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The win was France’s first at a tournament in six years, and Blanc is hoping that the next victory won’t be far away.

“We are very happy to win,” Blanc added. “Six years is a long time to go without winning a tournament game so I hope that the next victory will not be another six away because I won’t be here to talk to you because I will have been long fired before then!”

Defender Philippe Mexes echoed the feelings of his manager, and saluted the efforts of the French forwards who put Ukraine under pressure.

"We created doubts thanks to our pressing,” he told RMC. “The attackers were the first defenders.

"We stayed focused, it was essential and I think, with the rigour that we had this evening, the result was deserved."

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