Clairefontaine: Jacques Santini’s “strict regime” within the French camp does not bother his star playmaker Zinedine Zidane.
Santini, who took over as coach after France’s disastrous performance in the World Cup, has already said he will resign if France fail to qualify for the 2004 European Championship in Portugal.
He has implemented a strict new regime within the French camp, restricting visitors and banning evenings out before competitive matches.
“The coach has decided to implement his personal point of view. But I’m a married man and a father of three. So I don’t need anybody to tell me what to do. Setting rules is good to avoid excess but I don’t do anything to excess.”
Meanwhile, Zidane said that he wants France to make a “new start” for European Championship qualifying after their disastrous World Cup finals.
“Soccer has never been easy to deal with and our duty is now to help the young ones find their place in the squad,” he told a news conference before holders France’s opening qualifier in Cyprus Saturday. “We must give France a new start.”
With several key players like Fabien Barthez, Vincent Candela, David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry out through injury and others such as Frank Leboeuf, Christophe Dugarry and Youri Djorkaeff retired, new coach Jacques Santini has banked on young blood to revive France.
“We must prepare for the future now. I think the ‘oldies’ and the ‘newies’ can work along together pretty well,” said Zidane. “This is not a new team that we have. It’s just that we needed to renew the squad.”