Di Matteo rubbishes Malouda maelstrom

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo yesterday dismissed any hint of a dressing-room revolt over Florent Malouda’s banishment from the first-team squad.

Di Matteo played down comparisons between Malouda’s segregation and those of Nicolas Anelka and Alex last season, which arguably contributed towards Andre Villas-Boas’ downfall as manager.

Chelsea’s squad were said to be angered by what was seen as an attempt by Villas-Boas to assert his authority, with his successor subsequently praised for the way he brought other outcasts back into the fold.

But Di Matteo got tough last week when he and the club decided to banish Malouda to the U21 team following his refusal to accept several offers to move on despite having apparently expressed a desire to leave.

Malouda, whose contract expires next summer, revealed the news on Twitter but did not succeed in mobilising his team-mates, according to Di Matteo.

“They have accepted the decision, and they’re just going to focus on their targets for this season,” he said.

“Over the past, there’s been some expression of the player to part company, but it hasn’t happened.

“So we’ve moved forward, brought in other players and they’re the ones we’re going to work with this season. It was a combined decision between me and the club. It’s obviously not an extremely positive message or decision for him, but I guess, at the end, we have to look after our own interests.”

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