Oleh Blokhin has reiterated that his Ukraine side is still far from qualifying for the UEFA Euro 2012 quarterfinals despite entering this evening’s battle against France atop Group D.
In his pre-match press conference, Blokhin told reporters that his philosophy is not entirely down to humility and that he truly believes that France and England – his team’s next two opponents – are global leaders in football.
The manager was particularly in awe of the former, asserting that Laurent Blanc’s men may just be the team to beat this summer.
“I think England and France are leaders of world football. If Laurent Blanc says France are outsiders, he’s not telling the whole truth because they have great players,” Blokhin said about a French side that is unbeaten in 22 outings.
He added: “I said after our game against Sweden that we hadn’t achieved anything. My main task is to give strength to the players so that they can get through the group stage, and I do everything possible to give them energy.”
When asked if Ukraine’s familiarity with weather conditions at home will play a role, Blokhin refused to rule out that prospect.
“I think the weather will play a role. I think it will be very hard to play attacking football and a pressing game for 90 minutes. We’ll have to handle it, but I know that some of my players cope better in these conditions than others,” he concluded.