Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Blanc warns Chelsea that money can´t buy European glory

Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc insists Chelsea can't expect to win the Champions League just because they are a financial superpower.

Funded by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Chelsea have won the Premier League twice and amassed one of the strongest squads in the world, but Europe's top club prize has remained out of reach.

Blanc's side face the Blues in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday and the French coach risked the wrath of his opponents by claiming that they won't be able to buy their way to glory in Europe.

“They have the squad, the stadium and the financial power so they are clearly a big club,” Blanc said.

“But in spite of all those things they still haven't won the Champions League, which just goes to show what a difficult tournament it is to win.

“As well as all the money you do need talent and you need performances.”

Tuesday's match is the definition of a David against Goliath clash. While Blanc has little money to spend, his Chelsea counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari took charge of a squad worth millions when he arrived at the Bridge in July.

But although Blanc, a former Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter Milan defender, is well aware of Chelsea's quality, he sees no reason why his team can't return to France with at least a point.

“If you look at the strength Chelsea have compared to us you would think it would be an easy game for them, but that is one of the great things about football, and the Champions League especially, because smaller teams can upset the bigger ones,” Blanc said.

“We didn't spend long looking for their weaknesses because there aren't many. And if we had looked at their strengths we wouldn't have slept because they have so many. But can we get a point? Why not?

“We fought very hard in the league last year to make sure we got to this stage. We haven't come just to make up the numbers.

“It is always the case that you learn from every game and gain experience but we don't just come for that. It would be a bad state of affairs if we came just for experience.

“We might start in a reserved manner but hopefully we will be able to become more audacious as the game goes on.”

Blanc, 42, spent two years at Old Trafford at the end of his career and is well placed to judge the Premier League's dominance in Europe.

At least one English club has reached the final in each of the last four years, while Chelsea and Manchester United slugged it out for the trophy last season.

Blanc has no doubts Premier League teams will continue to increase their stranglehold on the competition.

“The English teams are ruling Europe at the moment. You can see that by the presence of two clubs from England in the final last year,” he said.

“It is not just because they are strong technically but also financially. I think this will carry on for the next few years. It is hard to see who will stop this.”

Blanc retains such an affection for English football after his time at United that he is happy to admit he would love to coach in the Premier League.

“When I came to England to play at United, football was already important here. Since then it has even more power at club level,” Blanc said.

“For a manager, coaching in England is the supreme goal. It is a football country with clubs who have big history and culture.

“It is a personal objective to coach here but if it happens or not I don't know.”


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