Didier Deschamps is confident his France team have the right characters to triumph at Euro 2016, but was reluctant to draw comparisons with the side he captained to World Cup glory on home soil in 1998.
Tournament hosts France qualified top of Group A with seven points and are heavily fancied to reach the quarter-finals having been paired with Republic of Ireland in the last 16.
Head coach Deschamps knows what it takes to win at major tournaments having also skippered France to glory in the 2000 European Championship.
Deschamps says he can draw on those experiences, but does not want to burden his team with the pressure of matching the successful France sides he played in.
“It was better when I was a player [than as a coach], life was great, even though life is still great of course,” he told a news conference ahead of the Ireland clash in Lyon.
“Of course when you win something as a generation, you have personality and you have character. But I have players who are big characters and have a lot of attributes.
“I don’t like to make comparisons. We are talking about 18 years ago. I never talk about that, I never mention that in my dialogues.
“My time as a player does help me now as a coach but that was another period in history.”
Deschamps was less than impressed with the state of the pitch at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy in France’s goalless draw against Switzerland last time out, but is happy with the condition of the playing surface at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
“I’m not angry, this pitch is pretty decent, to be fair,” he added.
“It’s great for the entertainment, for the people watching at home. This is the essence of the games.
“Sometimes we have these amazing stadiums and people think ‘we’ll look at the pitch later’. No! I’m happy we have a good pitch tomorrow.”
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