Florent Malouda admits France have 'a lot of problems to fix' and believes leaders need to step up.
Les Bleus have enjoyed considerable success at recent World Cups, taking the title on home soil in 1998 and reaching the final in Germany four years ago.
They also tasted European Championship glory in 2000, with their golden generation sweeping all before them.
Serious cracks have started to appear, though, with a dismal showing at Euro 2008 suggesting they are no longer a force to be reckoned.
Success brings with it great expectation and France have failed to live up to their billing over recent years.
Chelsea winger Malouda accepts as much as he readies himself for this summer's World Cup in South Africa, but he is confident Raymond Domenech has enough quality at his disposal to make amends over the coming weeks.
"The problem is, after what we did in 2006 - and of course there was a great generation in 1998 and 2000 - expectations are very high," Malouda told The Guardian.
"And the Euro in 2008 was a disaster. So when you are in a bad situation everything is coming out, and people are pointing the finger.
"The World Cup is really close and honestly we have a lot of problems to fix. When there is tension, when there is high-pressure games, you need characters. You need people to come out and say 'I will take responsibility'."
He added: "Honestly we have a lot of problems. We have to talk about a lot of things. But for that you need someone to take the first step. Guys like (Patrick) Vieira and (Claude) Makelele who can take the lead. If they are not there, somebody has to do it."
France will be looking to Malouda to provide an attacking spark this summer, with his domestic form at Chelsea over the second half of the season suggesting he could make a real impact in South Africa.
The former Lyon man believes he is ready to leave his mark on a major tournament, admitting that he finally feels settled at Stamford Bridge after three years in England.
"People had to get to know me and get used to the way I am. And I needed time to show what I can do." said Malouda.
"I came into a squad that had won a lot of titles with Jose Mourinho. To arrive in a team that has had great success but was on a down period, people expect a lot from you. I had to be patient.
"You know, I had five managers here and each time at the beginning they were trying things before I had their full confidence. I am really happy it is happening now and people can show me that love and affection the same as my team-mates."