France coach Laurent Blanc's
patience with the much-criticised Samir Nasri paid off on Monday
after the midfielder equalised in a 1-1 draw with England in
their Euro 2012 Group D opener.
"Samir has always been up there with other talented players,
and you have to be a bit more patient with these kinds of
players," said Blanc after Nasri's man of the match performance.
"If they share your philosophy and your opinion, then they
will give you the right response on the pitch. It is great for
him and great for us."
Nasri's superb shot from outside the area flew past England
keeper Joe Hart, his Manchester City team-mate, to bring France
level after England had taken the lead through Joleon Lescott.
The match, played in humid conditions at a less than full
Donbass Arena, saw the more inventive French extend their
unbeaten run to 22 matches against a gritty England side.
"We took a while to get into the game, and as is often the
way we got punished. But that helped us get into the game
ironically," Blanc added.
"The fact it was very hot made it harder for the attacking
side and France attacked a lot more than England. We're not
entirely thrilled but we're not entirely disappointed either."
The 24-year-old Nasri's familiarity with club mate Hart
helped him spring a surprise that caught the keeper off guard.
"Franck Ribery gave me the ball back and the England defence
was really deep. Joe knows me well and knows that I usually open
up my body to shoot but this time I decided to go inside, use
the instep and it worked," the 24-year-old Nasri said.
He gestured and appeared to shout "shut your mouth" after
his goal, a possible response to the French media who have been
critical of him, but Blanc would not be drawn into the reasons.
"That is something personal. I won't get involved in that,"
he said. "Samir was very happy to have scored a goal, happy to
have played a good match."
Blanc also praised fellow midfielder Alou Diarra.
"Diarra was fantastic. Because he was at fault for the goal
he worked very hard, and then we had a much more aggressive
side, and that is a very important ingredient in a match."
"We're disappointed because we prepared to win this game,
but we need to be realistic. We could have lost this game had we
not reacted... the side which played the most football was
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