'Press reports are lies'
Embattled French coach Raymond Domenech insisted on Tuesday that stories published in the French press about a row between himself and national captain Thierry Henry were 'lies'.
Domenech was speaking on the eve of the crucial 2010 World Cup qualifier here against Group Seven leaders Serbia, who lead the French by four points after France drew 1-1 at home to Romania last Saturday.
Domenech, who was jeered by the French fans when his name was announced at the Stade de France last Saturday, was adamant, though, that Monday's report in Le Parisien stating that Henry had blasted him at the players meeting on the eve of the Romania match was false.
"I repeat to you, that since 2004, I do not make any comment on lies in the press," said Domenech, who replaced Jacques Santini after he left for an ill-fated spell at Spurs.
Henry, who scored France's goal on Saturday before an own goal gave Romania an equaliser, backed up the coach saying the reason he had gone on French television on Monday was to defuse the situation.
"It simply wasn't true (the report)," said Henry, who was cited by someone within the squad to have accused Domenech of lacking direction and that the players did not know where they were playing when they went on to the pitch.
"Like I said there had been a constructive discussion.
"There was no clash, no words said in anger. There was nothing serious in what went on.
"We were all taken by a surprise. It is a shame that information comes out like that (from within the camp). But we are beginning to become accustomed to it."
Domenech also rejected claims by Chelsea's Florent Malouda he had only learnt he would not feature against Romania when he entered the dressing room on Saturday and saw there was no shirt for him.
"The starting 11 knew who they were," was his curt response.
Domenech said that he had no qualms that the players would rise to the occasion in what is sure to be a febrile atmosphere in Belgrade.
"I agree with Thierry (Henry), all the qualifiers are matches of the highest level.
"All the players who play in this type of match know that it is necessary to raise their level of play."