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September 9, 2009

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Henry denies he criticized coach

FRANCE captain Thierry Henry has denied criticizing coach Raymond Domenech after a newspaper quoted the striker as saying the players were getting bored during training sessions.

French daily Le Parisien reported that Henry had spoken to Domenech last Friday, the day before the team's World Cup qualification hopes were hit by a 1-1 draw at home to Romania.

It quoted Henry as telling Domenech: "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 organize. We do not know what to do. We have no style, no guidelines. It is not working."

Asked if he had said those words, Henry told French television channel TF1: "No".

"Nothing happened on Friday," the Barcelona striker said. "We had a discussion as often happens between a team and their coach but it was a rather constructive discussion."

He declined to disclose what they had talked about, saying "such a discussion must stay between the coach and the players, inside the castle".

In a televised statement published on the French federation Website, Domenech said the atmosphere among his squad was super.

"The atmosphere is great," Domenech said. "With all the discussions and the debates we have, we manage to create an exceptional atmosphere."

Henry shared his coach's view.

"I have been saying so for a long time, there is a super atmosphere among our squad but it's very difficult to relay such a message when you don't win games," said the striker, France's top scorer with 49 goals from 112 caps.

"The only thing we have to do is to qualify for the World Cup."

France travels to Serbia today, trailing by four points in Group 7 with three games to play, and is likely to need a playoff to book its ticket to the 2010 World Cup.

"At the end of the day, this match in Belgrade is not decisive," Domenech said. "We can win, lose or draw, it will not change radically the remainder of the competition. We will still have two more games to play, so we have a chance."


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