Football: Voix Populaire: What did the French think of England in their Wembley international?

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The Independent Online
YOURI DJORKAEFF

Attacking midfielder

England's performance didn't surprise me, they played to their ability. They started off very quickly and then ran out of steam once we took control of the game. It's true the England-based players helped us. We spoke a lot before the match and, in the end, it made the difference. I think that the French, who are based abroad, have something more than those they play with. It's normal: There are language barriers and competition for places, so in order to succeed you need to be strong.

ROGER LEMERRE

Manager

For a while, I thought England would not tire. But my players had no doubt they could not keep up such a tempo. England have very good midfielders, but they found they were up against better players. I also think the myth of Wembley may be disappearing. In the past the fans made such a noise that it gave a huge boost to the home team. I sense the fervour is no longer there. That made the players doubt, and an Englishman who doubts or feels vulnerable is only half an Englishman.

LILIAN THURHAM

Full-back

They started well and were strong for the first 20 minutes, but we progressively took control, so that by the end we were calm and in command. We worked hard in training and also showed awareness in the match. We have players who know how to cope with pressures - which was very important during the first half - and can play attractive football. As for Anelka, we all know what he can do. He actually scored three and I hope that this is the beginning of a prosperous career for him.

EMMANUEL PETIT

Midfielder

We were a little bit surprised at how England dropped their tempo in the second half. We are still not sure why this happened. I think we played England at the best possible time. The team was like a wounded animal. And, though an animal is often at its most dangerous when wounded, they simply couldn't compete tonight. It's not a managerial problem, it's a psychological one. When things aren't right in your head, they can't be right in your body. Footballers are the same as everyone else.

FRANCK LEBOEUF

Centre-back

England made it very hard for us in the first half, but I think we deserved to win. I was shocked with England in the sense that once they went 1-0 behind they didn't want to fight any more. That was a real surprise because the character of the English person is the British bulldog who rolls his sleeves up when his back is against the wall and refuses to give in. I know there were many changes in the squad but when you are a football player you have to give your best regardless of the circumstances.

ARSENE WENGER

Arsenal manager

I think England were not good enough. You can see what has happened in recent weeks has been a big shock for English football and the players are better than they showed. They looked to have a lack of confidence. Those players I know are very good; they are international players. But the confidence was not there - the shock of what has happened to English football has gone quite deep. They were cautious and never really came out like the English can.

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