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By ESPN Staff
May 31, 2009

Bordeaux coach Blanc happy to be underdogs

Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc admitted the fact his team did not have to deal with the pressure of being considered title favourites worked to their advantage after they were crowned French champions.

Les Girondins came into the final round of fixtures with a three-point lead over nearest challengers Marseille, and needing just a draw at Caen to clinch their first title since 1999.

But Blanc's side secured the title in style, with Yoan Gouffran's effort enough to see Les Girondins triumph 1-0 to send their opponents down and render OM's emphatic 4-0 win over Rennes meaningless.

"What helped us was that everyone, even me, saw Lyon as champions... then it was Marseille's turn," said the former France centre-back. "People didn't take into account until very late the fact that Bordeaux were on an exceptional run.

"The pressure was on our rivals a lot earlier than us. That favoured us. Now, when you see that despite winning 11 matches in a row we needed to wait until the last match to be crowned, it also means that another team (Marseille) went on a championship-winning run."

Blanc pinpointed his side's 1-0 home win over outgoing champions Lyon on April 19 as the moment he knew the title was on, and was delighted his team were able to go all the way after missing out to Les Gones on the last day of last term.

"Last year, we did very well throughout the whole season but I had said to my players at the end that people would only remember Lyon being crowned champions," he said.

"We had to learn from that, know how to better understand the big matches. We took a calculated risk in doing more physical preparation in January.

"When you analyse our results in the 11 last rounds of fixtures, I say to myself we were right to do that. We finished the season very strongly."

Blanc does not, however, expect his team to now go on a run like Lyon, whose run of seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles his side finally ended.

"No. What Lyon did, no other team can do it," he said. "Or it would be very difficult to. You are continually starting over again in sport. It will be even harder next year.

"People often have a go at me for showing a lack of ambition, but I have loads of it. But there are ways to look at things. Bordeaux are in a certain category. You can't take on those who are above you in a brash way.

"You have to be shrewd. I don't know if I have been that but I feel we did what we had to."

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