Speaking to television station TF1 on Monday evening, France captain Thierry Henry rejected quotes attributed to him in Le Parisien earlier that day. Henry's words were supposed to have been made on Friday and slated national team coach Raymond Domenech. Instead, les Bleus’ record goal scorer moved to underline that there is currently a great team spirit in the squad.
The Barcelona forward was supposed to have told the paper, “Coach, we have something to tell you. I am speaking in the name of the squad. We are getting bored during your training sessions.
“In 12 years with the French team, I have never been in such a situation.
“We do not know how to play, where to be on the pitch, how to organise. We do not know what to do. We have no style, no guidelines. It is not working.”
However, the 32-year-old has now denied making such statements.
“No. Nothing happened on Friday,” he asserted strongly.
"We had a discussion, as often happens between a team and their coach, but it was a rather constructive discussion.
“I've been saying for some time now. But when you do not win the game it is much more complicated to get this message across. There is a great atmosphere in this squad. I can say I see it every day.”
Regarding qualification for the World Cup, the captain has stated his belief that his team can progress to the finals, either automatically or via the play-offs.
“We want a big result there,” he stated, nodding at Wednesday night’s match against group leaders Serbia, who lead France by four points, in Belgrade.
“[Automatic qualification] is still mathematically possible. Otherwise we will go through the back door.
“I hope the public will be behind us. We are all with the coach to achieve this goal.”
Anything less than three points in midweek will likely kill off any hopes France have of avoiding the play-offs, which will be something of a lottery.
Robin Bairner, Goal.com