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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 23:55 GMT 00:55 UK
Santini ready for Spurs

By Phil McNulty
Our man in Portugal

New Spurs boss Jacques Santini insisted he will not arrive at White Hart Lane as damaged goods after France's humiliating Euro 2004 exit against Greece.

New Spurs boss Jacques Santini
The holders were on the receiving end of the tournament's biggest shock as they went down 1-0 to rank outsiders Greece in the quarter-final in Lisbon.

It made it a painful farewell for Santini, who quits the job after two years to take over at Spurs.

But he was in defiant mood as he was put under the microscope following France's surprise defeat.

Santini said: "Whatever my future holds, and at the beginning of my new experience in England, I will always be very determined.

"As long as I get pleasure out of being involved in football and as long as I like it, I will keep going as a coach, which has a lot of responsibilities.

"And when I think of the France supporters, or the Tottenham fans, I will tell them they can trust me in being determined to be successful as I start my new adventure."

Santini was a composed figure as he ended his reign in despair, and delivered some brutal truths about the decline of a team containing many players that won the World Cup on home soil in 1998 and then claimed the Euro 2000 trophy.

He said: "There was just too many technical deficiencies in our game and a lack of clear ideas in the last few minutes of the game.

I've lived through some very powerful moments in my 35 years in football and what has happened with France will stay with me
Jacques Santini

"It is difficult for the holders of the trophy because one of the main objectives of opponents is to beat the champions. It was a hard fought game and when defeat comes we must accept it and congratulate the opposition.

"We ended up hitting too many long balls in the air, which of course the Greece defenders enjoyed. We might have enjoyed more success keeping possession and widening the game out, but of course now we will never know."

France missed the injured Patrick Vieira, and Santini refused to be drawn on whether the defeat signalled the end of a great era involving world-class stars such as Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Bixente Lizerazu and Fabien Barthez.

Santini said: "There will be someone taking my post in August 2004, and it is for the players of that generation to decide what to do with their future, and discuss it with whoever is in charge of the team.

"For myself, I have lived through some very powerful moments in my 35 years in football and what has happened with France will stay with me. There have been powerful and positive moments, even though I leave as a disappointed man after this game."

Links to more France stories



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