Domenech mum on Malouda exclusion


CAPE TOWN, June 12 – France coach Raymond Domenech was coy Friday on why he dropped Chelsea star Florent Malouda from his starting 11 as rumours swirl that the pair had a falling out.Malouda was a surprise ommision against Uruguay in France’s opening World Cup game as Les Blues struggled to a turgid 0-0 draw.

Talk is rife that the pair had a spat over the inclusion in the team of Bordeaux’s Yoann Gourcuff.

Malouda finally replaced young pretender Gourcuff 15 minutes before the end, but Domenech didn’t want to get into the details.

Asked at his post-match press conference if Malouda had been sanctioned, he said: "A player that I bring onto the pitch 15 minutes before the end is one I bring on because I believe he can contribute something.

"We have 23 players and that’s all that concerns me. On the rest of your question, I don’t have anything more to say."

Malouda also insisted that there was no problem between him and Domenech.

"The coach wanted a second defensive midfielder (Abou Diaby)," said the Chelsea star.

"He chose an option. Nothing has happened with the coach. He had a choice to make."

Domenech also left Thierry Henry on the bench with Nicolas Anelka the lone striker.

But Anelka was unimpressive and Henry replaced him in the second-half and looked far more lively.

Domenech’s side have struggled to score goals of late and he acknowledged they should have done better against the Uruguayans.

"The aim was to win obviously," he said.

"We tried, but I think that in the way we approached the game we did a great deal but we were not able to finish, to convert our chances, but I think we played well as a team."

With South Africa and Mexico also playing out a draw in the earlier Group A match, France now have everything to do.

Domenech knows he needs to sit down and carefully consider how he approaches the next two matches and whether he needs to make changes to his under-performing side.

"I obviously need to think about that and can’t give you an answer straight away," he said.

"I need to take stock and we will take our time, watch the match again and on that basis see what can or should be done.

"We had three yellow cards tonight and that is something that will have to come into our thinking as well."