Florent Malouda Image 3
ROBERTO di Matteo has defended his decision to send Florent Malouda into exile with the under 21s – and does not believe the move will cause unrest.
Last season, Andre Villas-Boas chose to banish both Alex and Nicolas Anelka from the first team when they went public with their desire to leave the club.
But it did not go down well with some of the pair's team-mates, who felt the new manager had shown a lack of respect to two well-established squad members.
In the summer, Malouda was linked with a move to Brazil, and has also paid the price even though, curiously, the French international is included in the club's 25-man Premier League squad list.
“We've taken a decision as a club to put him with the under 21s,” said the Chelsea boss.
“Over the past there's been some expression of some players to maybe part company as well and at the end, we've moved on and brought in other players that we're going to work with.
“It was a combined decision with me and the club. It's obviously not an extremely positive message for him, but I guess at the end, we have to look after our own interests and that's a decision that we've taken.
“I think the other players have accepted the decision that has been made by us and they are all just focusing on their own targets for the season.”
Di Matteo added: “I don't know if he's played his last game. Only the future will tell, but at the moment, he's with the under 21s and he can't be sold or go out on loan until January.”