World Cup - Domenech: France stars 'spoilt brats'

Tue, 15 Feb 11:00:00 2011

Former France coach Raymond Domenech has labelled the France stars who walked out of training during the World Cup as "spoilt, thoughtless brats".

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In his first full interview after the fall-out of France’s South Africa shame, Domenech told L’Express that he felt helpless throughout the unprecedented situation, which saw Les Bleus refuse to train after Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for insulting the coach during their group stage defeat to Mexico.

"At the time I couldn’t see it. Each time I looked back towards the team bus, I saw nothing, no one," Domenech said of the bizarre chain of events that saw his players shut out the windows of the team coach and refuse to take to the training pitch.

"At that time I thought they had gone mad, that they had no idea what they were doing. Now I know that I was wrong - they knew exactly what they were doing.

"They shut the curtains at the same time to keep out the cameras. With hindsight, I see them all as a group of spoilt, thoughtless brats."

Several France players - including skipper Patrice Evra, midfielders Jeremy Toulalan and Franck Ribery and defender Eric Abidal - were banned for several games by the FFF, with much of the blame apportioned to Domenech for his eccentric management style and team selection. He was sacked after the World Cup.

Domenech - who is suing the FFF for unfair dismissal - added that he wanted to speak publicly for the first time and explain why it was him and not the players who read a group statement, prepared by Toulalan’s representative, to the assorted press and fans.

"Afterwards everyone spoke about me, apart from me. I just desired to give my side of the story," he said.

"We were waiting for over an hour. It became clear that someone had to take responsibility and stop the charade.

"All the cameras were focused on the bus, the fans were waiting by the training pitch. The whole world was laughing at us. I said ‘Let’s stop, I can’t take it any more!’ No one wanted to read the statement, so I went and did it. If I had thought about it for a couple of seconds I’d have left.”

While laying most of the blame at the feet of the players, Domenech - wildly unpopular throughout his six-year reign and criticised for ignoring many of France's best players before and during the World Cup - admitted that he made mistakes as a manager.

"To be honest I was wrong. I did not choose the correct players or find the right words," he conceded.

"But I do not accept what politicians have said, nor do I listen to the former players who have turned their hand to journalism."

Domenech, who has been linked with the Iran job, added that he was considering various offers to work in film and theatre but would not consider taking part in a reality TV show, as had been reported.


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