Raymond Domenech spoke of his frustration at seeing France fail to overcome ten-man Uruguay in their opening game of the 2010 World Cup.
France rarely looked like breaking the deadlock during their goalless draw with the South American side, and even when Uruguay were reduced to ten men following the 81st-minute dismissal of Nicolas Lodeiro, they looked an anaemic attacking force.
Les Bleus were also forced to deflect reports that prior to the game Domenech had been involved in an angry confrontation with Chelsea winger Florent Malouda, who was surprisingly relegated to the substitutes’ bench.
“It is frustrating not to have won the match,” Domenech said. “Perhaps we weren’t calm enough or quite precise enough in the final phase. Uruguay defended very well and they have quality in that regard. We tried and in the way we approached the game we did a great deal but we weren’t able to finish our chances.”
Domenech refused to expand on why Malouda had been left on the bench, only saying: “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 denied that there had been any falling out with the coach, insisting his omission was purely tactical: “The coach wanted a second defensive midfielder. He chose an option. Nothing has happened with the coach. He had a choice to make.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez defended his team’s disciplinary record following the dismissal of Lodeiro, but said he would instruct his players not to show dissent to match officials.
“I think football is one thing, and behaviour on the pitch is a different kettle of fish,” Tabarez said. “Theoretically, any card is avoidable but I was once a player and I know what it is like to be out there. So I understand my players’ point of view. My way of doing things has given us good results so far and we will continue on this road.
“A coach has to be critical of behaviour on the pitch that gives us yellow cards – one today was for protesting and I don’t like that at all. I will talk to the players and try to stop that happening again in the future. The other side also had cards, remember that. If we didn’t have these talking points, though, football would be very boring indeed.”