Malouda clears air with Ancelotti

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The Independent Football

The Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda has admitted he met with his manager Carlo Ancelotti to voice his frustrations at a lack of first team opportunities in World Cup season.

Malouda was asked by Ancelotti to explain comments in a French newspaper at the weekend, and while he claimed he was being misquoted the French international did admit he is unhappy when he is on the bench. Malouda spoke with Ancelotti before the Boxing Day game at Birmingham to clear the air.

Malouda, 29, said: "Managers and players have these discussions most of the time. I spoke about my frustrations about not appearing in the big games because of the World Cup. I never spoke about my team-mates, just that it is a World Cup year and that I have ambitions with the French team and want to start the big games. But that's it. He told me I have to take my opportunity now."

Complaints from the dressing room are part and parcel of life at any football club, and Ancelotti attempted to draw a line under the incident, saying: "I was a player and when I didn't play I was frustrated. For me, it is finished."

Malouda started, and scored, in Sunday's 5-0 rout of Watford in the FA Cup third round, in which young striker Daniel Sturridge scored twice to suggest he could deputise for Didier Drogba while the 19-goal striker is away at the African Nations Cup.

The England Under-21s striker hopes to play well enough to create selection problems for Ancelotti. "It is good for confidence that the manager believes in us young players and hopefully we will be able to put on performances for him and when the big boys come back, we will be able to give them some problems so that we can get ourselves in the team," Sturridge said. "I am delighted to get my first goal because I have been waiting a long time for that.

"If more opportunities don't come after this I am going to keep coming back anyway so it doesn't really matter whether I get my chance next week, a month later or in a year's time. I am at this club for a very long time and I have been learning from the best strikers in the world in [Nicolas] Anelka and Drogba so it has been no problem for me waiting around."

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