• Euro 2012

Bilic: Modric not distracted by United talk

ESPN staff
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Luka Modric: Focused on Croatia © Getty Images
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Slaven Bilic has insisted Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has not been distracted by talk of a move to Manchester United.

Bilic is putting the finishing touches to his side's preparations for the Euro 2012 opener against Ireland on Sunday, but was forced to field questions about his creative force. Reports on Friday suggested United had sealed a deal for the Tottenham man. Bilic has spoken to Modric and the Croatia coach does not envisage it being a problem.

"Don't worry, Luka won't be affected by talk of his future," Bilic is quoted as saying in the Sun. "No way. We talk a lot and Luka always puts his team-mates ahead of his own ambitions.

"He's very responsible, he knows he has to have a great tournament and be on top of his game for us to do what we are aiming to do.

"Talk of his future will only motivate him and boost his confidence. It's also my job to turn that to his advantage, to make sure that extra bit of pressure will drive him and will not be a weight on his shoulders.

"As Croatia manager and a fan, or his older brother, his father or his friend, I want him to be happy.

"When I called him and said he was already with a big club at Tottenham I only wanted to tell him that he shouldn't panic and say to himself: 'I have to leave'. Now it's going to be his and the club's decision."

Bilic has offered words of advice but has no intention of breaking the player's confidence. He said: "He knows what I think and it's a conversation that will stay between me and him."

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