Kombouare says he knew PSG was going to sack him

Kombouare says he knew PSG was going to sack him

Published Jan. 19, 2012 5:08 p.m. ET

Former Paris Saint-Germain coach Antoine Kombouare sensed his time was up even before the club replaced him with Carlo Ancelotti.

Kombouare led PSG into first place in the French league heading into the annual winter break, but the club's rich Qatari owners wanted a more high-profile name and Ancelotti was hired as coach late last month.

Speaking for the first time since leaving the club, Kombouare told sports daily l'Equipe in an interview to be published Friday that he knew the decision was coming and had prepared for it.

''I was not naive about the situation,'' Kombouare said in an extract from the interview on L'Equipe's website. ''On the morning of the Saint-Etienne game (on Dec. 21), I got my staff together to tell them, 'Right, this is my last game.' I sensed it. I knew it. It was unavoidable.''


He was taking charge of his third season at the club as the club's owners, QSI, embarked on a huge spending spree, breaking the French transfer record to sign Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore for ?42 million ($60 million).

Kombouare hoped to stay for the whole season, but understands that the circumstances were against him.

''I'm not bitter, I've already turned the page,'' Kombouare said. ''I can't accept the fact I was replaced, because I was in first place in the league, but I understand that the Qataris wanted a renowned coach.''

The 48-year-old Kombouare had a volatile streak that sometimes led to heated arguments with players, but he is proud of how he handled his players despite being under intense pressure.

As well as the pressure of getting results, Kombouare had to deal with weeks of speculation regarding his position until he was finally replaced.

''That's my biggest victory. Everyone expected me to lose the plot, that I would be unable to manage the squad,'' Kombouare said. ''But I showed that I was able to manage things, to win, and also to have an exemplary attitude.''