France World Cup coach: We're not prima donnas

29th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, May 29, 2006 (AFP) — France coach Raymond Domenech has launched a withering attack on a French television programme which he claimed depicted his World Cup squad unfairly as aloof and distant.

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, May 29, 2006 (AFP) — France coach Raymond Domenech has launched a withering attack on a French television programme which he claimed depicted his World Cup squad unfairly as aloof and distant.

Domenech was taking issue with a TF1 documentary which followed his side's high-altitude training camp in the Alps last week.

The programme contained a number of scenes of stony—faced players ignoring fans, with the reporter suggesting they had been instructed to behave like that by the French team management.

"I can't let that pass — it was presented as if we were holed up in a bunker," stormed Domenech.

"As if we'd forbidden the players to be approached by the public. It's wrong!

"The players have always respected the fans. It's absolutely scandalous to portray things like that," he added.

His comments came the day after France and in particular keeper Fabien Barthez and midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo were subjected to whistling during the 1—0 World Cup warm—up win over Mexico in front of a crowd of 80,000 at the Stade de France on Saturday night.

Bayern Munich defender Willy Sagnol denied the team were deliberately going out to be anatagonistic.

"It's not us that are looking for enemies — we find them every day in the media or by going to the Stade de France and hearing all that whistling.

"We're not paranoid but everyone agrees that Saturday's game wasn't important, that it served only as a preparation game and now we can feel there's dissatisfaction and disappointment about the French team."

On a more positive note Sagnol believes the mood among Les Bleus is a world apart from the tired squad that set off on that ultimately disastrous defence of their world title in Asia four years ago.

"The spirit is radically different to 2002, that's for sure. We've got over all that now, and in terms of our serenity that's no bad thing.

"We also have the advantage this time of having a lot of players who still haven't won anything at international level and because of that their motivation is huge, you can sense the atmosphere."

French football chief Jean—Pierre Escalettes sought to take the heat off the team.

"The team's concentrating. The leitmotiv is total concentration,' said the president of the French football federation.

"It doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of previous years. When 5,000 fans want autographs they can't all go away with signed shirts."

France have two more friendlies — against Denamrk and China — before their opening World Cup match against Switzerland on June 13.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article