Gallas blames Domenech ego for France 'fiasco'

Click to follow
The Independent Football

William Gallas has laid the blame for France's World Cup implosion at the feet of former coach Raymond Domenech.

Les Bleus crashed out in the group stage amid huge unrest in the camp, with Nicolas Anelka and Domenech involved in a bust-up which resulted in the Chelsea striker being expelled from the squad.

A subsequent strike by the players in protest at Anelka's expulsion added to the air of farce surrounding France's doomed campaign, which ended with the 1998 world champions finishing bottom of Group A with just one point and one goal to their credit.

The fallout from the fiasco accounted for French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes, who resigned from his post having shouldered the blame for the dismal campaign.

Domenech left his role immediately after the World Cup to be succeeded by Laurent Blanc, and central defender Gallas has wasted little time in aiming a parting shot in an interview with Les Inrockuptibles magazine to be published tomorrow.

"If there has been a fiasco there are reasons, and we must not close our eyes: they come from the coach," Gallas told the magazine in excerpts published by L'Equipe today.

"You can have the best players in your team, if you do not have a coach, you will not get results.

"The real problem was the coach. I was not good, we were not good. But the coach was not good either."

Domenech's reign was marred by what were perceived by many to be bizarre coaching techniques and selection decisions, and Gallas concedes it was difficult for players to build a relationship with the coach.

"There really was a communication problem" added Gallas, who is currently a free agent following the expiration of his Arsenal contract.

"Domenech was not open. Many players could not speak with him. That was my case.

"Domenech hammered into us time and again: 'Put your egos to one side'. But I believe that he forgot to do that himself."

Gallas also revealed his annoyance at the way Domenech handled the decision to make Patrice Evra captain for the World Cup campaign.

The 32-year-old had expected to be handed the armband with erstwhile skipper Thierry Henry relegated to a substitute's role, but Gallas was left disappointed when the coach made his decision.

"The hardest part of it is the manner in which it happened," he explained. "I realised when I entered the changing room prior to the friendly with Costa Rica that the captain's armband was placed beside Evra's shirt.

"Domenech told me: 'In any case, you would not be a good captain'."