PSG coach Blanc threatens to walk out of news conference

PSG coach Blanc threatens to walk out of news conference

Published Nov. 20, 2015 10:39 a.m. ET

PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc threatened to walk out of his news conference on Friday when asked another question regarding the psychological state of his players in the wake of last week's deadly attacks.

Having earlier interrupted one reporter's question relating to how certain players who lost friends in the carnage might be affected following last Friday's shootings, Blanc responded angrily soon after when he was asked a similar question.

His voice rising and with a hostile tone, Blanc barked ''we're not going to talk about this during the whole press conference, because I guarantee you, if you ask me one more question about the context, I'll leave.''

PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu lost two friends in the attacks, which killed 130 people and wounded 350.


Blanc, wearing a club tracksuit and a neck scarf, evoked the killings only briefly at the beginning of his news conference at the club training ground.

''The situation is very particular, more than particular in my opinion, in terms of the context, which we're not going to back over,'' he said. ''But also with players coming back from international duty which is also difficult for teams, and especially for teams with a lot of South Americans ... it's always difficult. The players came back in an advanced state of fatigue, due to the journey, the time difference, (this) particular context.''

He continued to talk about the match away at Lorient on Saturday, referring to the club's plastic playing surface being tough on the joints of aging players.

He was then asked about how certain players such as Sirigu and Javier Pastore were feeling, given that they had lost someone they were close to.

Having interrupted the question as it unfolded with ''So what?'' he was prompted again. Then, becoming increasingly annoyed, he responded sarcastically.

''Great, great, they were dancing on the table and everything. You're explaining something to me ... you're explaining to me how they are, and by explaining to me how they are, you've given yourself the answer,'' Blanc said.

He did answer when asked whether some players needed psychological help.

''It's not just Paris Saint-Germain players who are affected, it's all the players. Perhaps even more the foreign players. Why? Because they were very far away from Paris, and the international media showed non-stop images of Paris, very negative, which was the reality,'' Blanc said. ''They are very hard to erase ... so, yes, they are affected, yes, certainly. Some (psychological) work had to be done.''

Blanc has spoken to some players individually.

''Everyone is affected. The message we wish to get across, and I don't think I'm the only one, is that despite everything - the images, the shock, being touched by these events, and although it's no doubt easier said than done - life goes on. Our job is to play football. Your job (the media) is to ask questions. You've come here today. You have your cameras, you film.''

It was when he was pressed again to speak about the state of his players when Blanc threatened to leave, before answering whether any of them did not want to play.

''As of today, no player has knocked on my door and said, `Coach, I'm not ready to play.' I know some of them are very affected, practically everyone is. If you're not affected by this then it means you must have a slight problem. But, as I said, we have to prepare, we have to play a match ... when I say life goes on, I mean our job goes on.''

He backed the French league's decision not to cancel this weekend's games.

''It's going to be hard to play football this weekend, for everyone, but we have to do it,'' he said. ''It's our duty to prepare well. and to play as well as we can, despite the difficult context.''