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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Defender Sagna pleads for French fans' patience

Bacary Sagna has implored France's fickle fans to take a leaf out of Arsenal supporters' book and get behind the team in their hour of need.

Under-fire coach Raymond Domenech was not the only one to be subject to the wrath of the Stade Velodrome during Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Argentina in an international friendly in Marseille.

The players were also jeered by their own public when there was a misplaced pass or an error, the whistles increasing after each of Argentina's goals.

Sagna admitted it was tough to perform under such conditions and wants to be treated by Les Bleus fans like he is at the Emirates Stadium.

"I didn't have the feeling I was in France," the right-back said. "It was hard to comprehend. The public don't realise how important they are. You see at Arsenal how precious their backing is. We are human beings after all."

Sagna's performance against Argentina has been criticised in the French media.

The defender, who turns 26 on Saturday, was outwitted by Jonas Gutierrez for the Albicelestes' first goal in the 41st minute, and was then turned inside out by Lionel Messi before the Barcelona star slammed home the match-clinching second seven minutes from time.

Sagna was also sloppy in possession, and he therefore wasted a good chance to cement his position on the right of France's defence following the retirement of Willy Sagnol.

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes the display of Sagna, who has been so consistent for the Gunners in his year and a half in north London, proves there is a "psychological problem" in the France team.

"Sagna defended like a junior for the two goals," Petit wrote in his column in Aujourd'hui Sport."I was surprised by his positioning, his errors in marking, his lost tackles. I found him quite febrile and that is not like him.

"It isn't a lack of experience, since he was voted the best right-back in England in 2008. Plus he was playing alongside Gallas, like he does at Arsenal.

"All this confirms there is a big psychological problem in this team."

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