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Fulham good as French Champions

last updated Wednesday 11th July 2001, 4:57 PM
Jean Tigana
Jean Tigana
JEAN TIGANA feels the Fulham side which romped the Nationwide League last season would be good enough to challenge for the French title.

The Cottagers boss has been speaking to the press in his homeland ahead of the Londoners' pre-season programme, and he reaffirmed that Craven Cottage will be the last port of call in his footballing career.

When being asked how his side would fare in Le Championnat, Tigana replied honestly, showing his pride for the side he has built.

"It is simple," he stated. "With the team of last season, which played in the Second Division (First Division in England), we would challenge for the French title. "Listen, even if they were only friendly matches, we all the same won in Rennes, Bordeaux and Marseille. "It is another world in The Premiership. It has been 33 years for the club. "This lack of experience will certainly be our weakness."

As for Mohamed Al Fayed's suggestion that Fulham will be hoping to win the Premiership title next term, Tigana was more realistic.

"They are the words and the wish of Mr Al Fayed," he declared. "You know, at the beginning, everyone thought he was insane. "Fulham was in the Third Division (Division Two) and he spoke about The Premiership. Today, we are there. "We will build a new ground with more than 30,000 capacity next year. We already have a training centre that will be further improved. "Our budget allows us to compete to recruit everyone."

As for his own future, he is settled in West London and seems to have clear thoughts about what lies ahead for a former French international superstar. "I look at French football but keep quiet about it," he revealed. "As usual. "We (the French managers) are perceived positively here because French football is successful. "There is respect for our clubs, our trainers and our players. We are proud to be French abroad. "I am still under contract for two years, plus two others if I want it," he stated.

"I have indeed the will to turn the football page after this adventure."It is 30 years since I left my house. I would like a little to return home. "Now it is a wish." When asked if he could move in the long-term from football to the vineyards, he replied: "Yes, I acquired a new property with Cassis."

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