PARIS: France coach Raymond Domenech (pic) spoke out on Tuesday about the team's build-up to Euro 2008 as he prepares to name a 36-player squad today for the upcoming friendlies against England and Mali.
The outspoken 56-year-old rode a wave of criticism as France overcame a rocky beginning to the World Cup two years ago before leading the team to within a goal of winning the competition and he told L'Equipe, he wants to avoid the media circus that could unsettle his plans.
“I am convinced that the serenity of the team comes with isolation. In a major competition you have to be at 100% and you don't need to bare your soul on television,” said Domenenech who took over from Jacques Santini following Euro 2004.
“To do that we need to cut off completely from the outside world. What we ask of the players is to perform on match days. We have to be psychologically calm and to do that we have to turn off the TV's and not read the press.
France tackle Romania in their Group C opener on June 9 in Zurich before matches against Holland and a rematch of the World Cup final against Italy.
Domenech is also worried about the team's lack of scoring punch in recent matches and sees the clash against Fabio Capello's side at the Stade de France on March 26 as a chance for his players to test their big match credentials.
“The defeat against Spain (0-1 at Malaga) was a cloud and to not have scored in two matches is also a worry as is our preparation.
“The players finish the season on May 24 and we play our first match on June 9. At the World Cup we had seven weeks together and achieved a collective spirit.
“Now we have to achieve that on the field which is why I chose matches against Spain and England.
“Against England, we have to put ourselves in a situation as if it were the Euro. What counts is the players come to life on the pitch. They lost against Spain and I can tell you they were gutted. To prepare well, you must win matches,” he added. – AFP