Koscielny: Players thought Blanc would continue with France

The Arsenal centre-back was surprised that the World Cup winner decided against extending his contract with Les Bleus, but is now looking forward to working with Didier Deschamps
Laurent Koscielny has admitted that he and his France team-mates thought that Laurent Blanc would continue as national team coach after Euro 2012.

The 46-year-old was only contracted until the end of the tournament and, after lengthy talks with the French Football Federation (FFF) shortly after the conclusion of a controversial campaign that ultimately saw Les Bleus eliminated at the quarter-final stages, the former Bordeaux boss decided to step down.

Koscielny has now confessed that the announcement took him by surprise, while at the same time insisting that the uncertainty surrounding the coach's position had no bearing on their tame performances in Poland and Ukraine.

"We knew that Blanc was at the end of contract, but there was no discussion about his future during the Euros," the Arsenal ace told RMC Sport.

"He was concentrated at 200 per cent on his mission. We never heard anything about his departure and we thought that he would continue the adventure.

"He did a very good job with Les Bleus. He helped a lot of players progress and put in place what he wanted to do.

"But there is a new coaching staff now and we'll see what happens in the future."

Indeed, Koscielny is looking forward to working with Blanc's successor, Dider Deschamps, who accepted the top job in French football after parting company with Marseille.

"I do not know him as I've never been under his command," the defender mused. "But Deschamps is a great competitor. He has the spirit of winner, and this desire to win trophies.

"He demonstrated that at OM and hopefully they will do the same with the France team so that we can go to the World Cup."

Koscielny, who has been capped four times by his country, featured only once during Les Bleus' Euro 2012 campaign, in the 2-0 defeat by Spain.