Laurent Blanc has heaped extra pressure on the France squad by telling them that they “must” qualify for the World Cup and then challenge to win it.
France possess one of the best squads in international football and were expected to cruise through qualification as a result, but Group A has proved tough.
Didier Deschamps’ men lead the group with two games remaining, but they are not yet assured of qualification or a play-off berth, with each of the top four nations still able to win the group.
France, who are a point ahead of Sweden at the summit, face a potentially tricky trip to Bulgaria on Saturday, before hosting Belarus on Tuesday.
Former coach Blanc remains confident Les Bleus will prevail.
“I trust the French team,” the 51-year-old told France 3.
“They have fantastic players, especially in the offensive third, but not just there. There will be pressure, but good pressure.
“I hope the French team will qualify for the World Cup – they must.
“If we can qualify, we will have a role to play. Will we win the World Cup? Well, you qualify to win it.”
Blanc also spoke about Paris Saint-Germain, another team he has coached.
The former defender always believed PSG could become a European force, but now thinks that dream could become reality following the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
He added: “When I was coach of Paris Saint-Germain, I was convinced that PSG could win the Champions League.
“When will it happen? I don’t know, but maybe this year.”
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