Patience with Nasri pays off for Blanc

France coach Laurent Blanc's patience with the much-criticised Samir Nasri paid off on Monday after the midfielder equalised in a 1-1 draw with England in their Euro 2012 Group D opener.

"Samir has always been up there with other talented players, and you have to be a bit more patient with these kinds of players," said Blanc after Nasri's man of the match performance.

"If they share your philosophy and your opinion, then they will give you the right response on the pitch. It is great for him and great for us."

Nasri's superb shot from outside the area flew past England keeper Joe Hart, his Manchester City team-mate, to bring France level after England had taken the lead through Joleon Lescott.

The match, played in humid conditions at a less than full Donbass Arena, saw the more inventive French extend their unbeaten run to 22 matches against a gritty England side.

"We took a while to get into the game, and as is often the way we got punished. But that helped us get into the game ironically," Blanc added.

"The fact it was very hot made it harder for the attacking side and France attacked a lot more than England. We're not entirely thrilled but we're not entirely disappointed either."

INSIDE KNOWLEDGE

The 24-year-old Nasri's familiarity with club mate Hart helped him spring a surprise that caught the keeper off guard.

"Franck Ribery gave me the ball back and the England defence was really deep. Joe knows me well and knows that I usually open up my body to shoot but this time I decided to go inside, use the instep and it worked," the 24-year-old Nasri said.

He gestured and appeared to shout "shut your mouth" after his goal, a possible response to the French media who have been critical of him, but Blanc would not be drawn into the reasons.

"That is something personal. I won't get involved in that," he said. "Samir was very happy to have scored a goal, happy to have played a good match."

Blanc also praised fellow midfielder Alou Diarra.

"Diarra was fantastic. Because he was at fault for the goal he worked very hard, and then we had a much more aggressive side, and that is a very important ingredient in a match."

"We're disappointed because we prepared to win this game, but we need to be realistic. We could have lost this game had we not reacted... the side which played the most football was France."

They now face a tricky match against Ukraine in Donetsk on Friday after the co-hosts beat Sweden 2-1 in their first game.