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Thursday, February 21, 2013
Barton: French players 'don't like working'

Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Joey Barton has claimed French footballers "don't like working" and "getting themselves dirty", and believes they only play well if they are angry.

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Barton, 30, has become a fan favourite with Marseille supporters since joining the club on loan from Queens Park Rangers last summer with the OM faithful appreciative of his combative, industrious style.

His team-mates may be somewhat less enamoured with an interview in Thursday's L'Equipe, though, in which he tarred them and their Ligue 1 compatriots with the same, critical brush.

"In France, when you work hard, it's taken as meaning you have no talent. They don't believe in work, in making an effort" he said. "I don't understand that. The number of discussions I've had on the subject! French players don't like working. They don't like getting themselves dirty.

"If you push yourself in training, for them it means you don't have any talent. But if you have talent and you also work really hard, you get even better, don't you? Anyway, I don't have any talent, so I have to work."

With a visit to league leaders and arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain approaching, the timing of Barton's statement appears ill-advised. However, the former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder is perhaps merely trying to motivate his team-mates for Sunday's Ligue 1 encounter in the capital after spying another quirk in the Gallic footballer's mentality.

"I get the impression that they have to be angry to really push themselves. It's the same with the national teams: rugby, football. If you tell them, 'You're rubbish, you're a bunch of losers' they'll play really well," he added. "If you tell them, 'You're brilliant', they're going to stop working. So I suppose you have to try and annoy them."

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