Corinne Diacre thanks Clermont president for backing her

Clermont coach Corinne Diacre says that earning promotion would be a good way to thank the club president for giving her a chance to become the first woman to manage a professional men's team in France.

Diacre, 41, has guided Clermont to fifth in Ligue 2 this season -- just two points off the promotion places -- despite the club having the second-lowest budget in the league.

A former captain of France's women's team, she earned a contract extension in September after Clermont finished 12th in her first season in charge, two places and several points better off than in each of the two previous campaigns.

Diacre has earned an additional reward for the club's steady progression since her arrival in June 2014 by being named by France Football as the French second tier's manager of the year for 2015.

The former Soyaux defender -- who earned 121 caps at international level -- only agreed to do an interview with the magazine because it was focusing on her achievements rather than her gender.

"Yes, I had to say stop," she told France Football of her reluctance to do media interviews.

"I don't need to be talked about every day in the press.

"And the worst thing was that at a certain point I didn't even have the answers to the questions that were being asked of me.

"Why am I the only woman? How am I different from the others? I didn't know.

"I wanted to stand back from all that and to work."

With no sporting director at Clermont, Diacre also oversees recruitment at the club.

Her methods appear to be bearing fruit, since her side look well placed to challenge for promotion to the top flight with one game to go before the halfway point of the season.

Diacre revealed that she had failed in her application for the manager's job at Lyon's women's team before Clermont president Claude Michy offered her this current role.

She said some things had been said and written after her arrival that she did not accept and will not forgive.

But rather than proving her detractors wrong, she says one of her overriding motivations is to pay back the club president who backed her.

"The dream would be able to get promoted into Ligue 1 with Clermont," she told France Football.

"Not to annoy people who were against my arrival but for the risk-taking of the president."