Desailly scorns fatigue rumours

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The Independent Football

The Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly has hit back at the critics who claim he can no longer cope with the demands of captaining France and Chelsea.

The Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri, claimed that Desailly was not able to play two games inside 48 hours after leaving him out of the squad for the Blues' 3-0 Premiership defeat of Portsmouth on Sunday.

Desailly has been out of form for Chelsea of late, but the former Milan star insisted his absence was simply due to Ranieri's squad rotation policy.

"Two days after our 4-2 defeat against Charlton the coach decided to rotate his squad and to rest me, and suddenly everyone created a controversy, in England as well as in France, when there is none," Desailly said yesterday.

"What people have to understand is that since the season started, the coach has decided to practise a turnover policy which concerns every single player.

"Chelsea is the only club in Europe where there is such a regular turnover. With John Terry, William Gallas, or Marcel Desailly, Ranieri knows that he has quality in his team so why wouldn't he rotate it?

"The objective for us is to remain hot on the heels of our main rivals Arsenal and Manchester United until the end of the season."

Desailly also laughed off rumours linking him with a return to Marseilles, the club with whom he made his name and won the Champions' League title in 1993.

Reports had suggested that Chelsea were willing to sell the 35-year-old, but Desailly insists he is staying put.