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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Coach hard-pressed to please
Japan coach Philippe Troussier
Japan's media are often critical of Troussier
Philippe Troussier knows he must at least guide Japan to the second round of the World Cup if he is to prevent his relationship with the country's media from souring beyond repair.

Troussier famously fell out with the Press in the run-up to the tournament when he prevented them from attending a training session back in March.

The Frenchman locked more than 200 reporters out of a practice match at Japan's training camp in Shizuoka.

Asked why he had held an "open" session behind closed doors, Troussier - who has had training ground bust-ups with some Japan players since taking charge in 1998 - joked: "I don't want the Press to see me arguing with my players."

'Unacceptable'

The action angered the media, however, and he was attacked in the Press for his decision.

Senior Japanese Football Association (JFA) official Kozo Kinomoto also called Troussier's behaviour over the incident "unacceptable".

Sections of the Japanese media are known to be highly-critical of Troussier, downplaying his input when they win and dissecting his tactics when they lose.

Having guided the country to their second Asian Cup triumph in 2000 though, Troussier is determined to let results speak for themselves.

But he knows the press will be calling for his head if he fails to prevent Japan from becoming the firsts host not to make it to the second round of a World Cup tournament.

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