Patrick Vieira and other members of the France squad have hit out at the team's supporters, with the Inter Milan midfielder calling their behaviour in last night's defeat to Nigeria "unacceptable".

The players were roundly jeered as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at St Etienne, with Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema singled out for special attention because they play for neighbours Lyon, Les Verts' bitter rivals. Benzema was visibly perturbed by the fans' reaction towards him and Vieira has leapt to the defence of his team-mates.

"I accept the whistles from the fans at the end of a game," he said. "No problem. But what I don't accept and I don't understand are the whistles against the Lyon players every time they touch the ball. For me, it's petty and unacceptable. We all have the same shirt."

What I don't accept and I don't understand are the whistles against the Lyon players every time they touch the ball. For me, it's petty and unacceptable.

Patick Vieira

The France team are no strangers to a poor reception as a disappointing set of results has led to hostile atmospheres when they play at home. Patrice Evra has criticised Les Bleus fans before and the Manchester United defender once again spoke out.

"They confirmed what I have said before," he said. "It's serious. We weren't good. But they... they were at zero."

Coach Raymond Domenech was also unhappy with the reaction of supporters. "To mix Lyon and the France team, that's deplorable," he said. "It wasn't Lyon against St Etienne, it was France against Nigeria."

Les Bleus will be hoping for a better reception and an improved performance when they host Turkey at Lyon on Friday.