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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Waseige wants backing
The Belgium squad continue their preparations
Waseige believes his players deserve more support

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Belgium coach Robert Waseige has hinted that the press played a big part in his decision to stand down after the World Cup.

Waseige has not enjoyed a good relationship with the media in the build-up to the finals in Japan and Korea.

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If we reach the quarter-finals we will derive great satisfaction
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Robert Waseige

His decision to announce he is moving to Standard Leige after the summer was met with criticism from the press.

"We lost 4-1 (to Finland) and I was attacked virulently. But I was just preparing the team for the Scotland World Cup qualifier and that criticism shocked me," he told BBC Sport Online before announcing he was quitting.

"If you have bad results you can count on the press to destroy the atmosphere within the camp. But you shouldn't underestimate the fact that the team enjoys getting together.

"It doesn't mean you'll win matches but it improves the chances of getting a good result."

Waseige also feels that the Belgian FA, who he has accused of lacking professionalism, has also not always given him their entire support.

"I feel that if a country like Belgium qualifies for the World Cup finals we should be given as much help as possible," he added.

"Some people are not giving us full backing.

"For example, in two years we never played South American opposition. It's a mistake. I told them but they haven't listened."

Waseige also believes the expectations of his side are too high.

"We're not a country that is strong enough or confident enough in ourselves to say we're aiming for the quarter-finals," he said. "Italy and Germany can say that but not us.

"If we reach the quarter-finals we will derive great satisfaction from that and it will be a long-lasting memory for everyone."

It is widely thought that Waseige's predecessor Georges Leekens was hounded out by the French-speaking press.

But Waseige does not agree and believes the Flemish-speaking media have been less supportive of his reign.

Belgium coach Robert Waseige
Waseige feels aggrieved at press treatment

"When the Flemish talk about the French-speaking media destroying Leekens it's hypocrisy," he said. "All the power in the country lies in the Flemish region.

"The Francophone journalists tend to generalise and are more prudent. The Flemish are more direct, more negative."

Before announcing his decision to quit as coach Waseige admitted that had results not gone his way at the World Cup then the pressure would have made it "hard for the Belgian FA to keep me on".


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