Former Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has broken his silence on his summer separation from the French champions.
Blanc led PSG to three consecutive Ligue 1, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions titles, as well as back-to-back Coupe de France wins, in a glittering three-year stay at Parc des Princes.
Despite such an impressive haul of silverware, including two previously unprecedented domestic clean sweeps, the club's Qatari owners decided to part company with Blanc this summer and replace him with Unai Emery after a fourth consecutive Champions League quarterfinal finish.
Speaking with Le Figaro, among others, at the Etoiles du Sport event in La Plagne for the first time since he was relieved of his position in Paris, the Frenchman conceded that the manner of his exit was painful.
"I can understand when a club wants, at a certain moment, to try something else with other people," he said. "I am not pretentious enough to think I was the only person capable of coaching this team.
"I would have liked that things happened in a different manner as it was a bit brutal but as you know, I have been in football for 30 years and I know how it works. For a coach to be fired, this is nothing new. Also, spending three years with such a big club is not easily done."
Despite the bitter taste left by his dismissal, Blanc looks back on his time with the Ligue 1 giants fondly and pointed out that he exceeded many people's initial expectations.
"I experienced three extraordinary years with this club," said the former France international player and coach. "Remember, when I arrived, many only gave me six or eight months. Finally, I was there for three years, which as far as I am concerned, went well."
PSG have struggled for form so far this season under Emery and the team's success under Blanc, influenced heavily by now departed talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is weighing heavily at present.
The 51-year-old tactician admitted he remains a PSG fan but conceded Ligue 1 is a little more interesting now they are not as dominant.
"You will see, PSG will be in front come the end," Blanc said. "There is a lot of talk but ultimately, perhaps it is a bit more interesting now the team no longer dominates the league as some have complained.
"I have no contact with the players anymore, nor the leaders. There is a new staff in place, they are working and they should be left to work calmly. I would not like my predecessor to be in the press all the time, so I am not going to do to them what I would not like done to me."
Blanc also believes PSG's Champions League round of 16 draw against Barcelona will be a great match, but acknowledged his former employers will find it difficult against the Spanish giants.
"I believe over the last three or four years there have been six meetings between these two sides," Blanc said. "You only have to look at the results to see it is a team that PSG do not fare well against."