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End to Blues' Malouda rift

FLORENT Malouda has held clear-the-air talks with Frank Lampard and Carlo Ancelotti after appearing to criticise both his Chelsea team-mate and his boss in a recent interview.

The France midfield player complained at being overlooked by Ancelotti for the biggest games and suggested that Lampard's status as a senior England player ensures that he is always selected ahead of him on the left of a midfield diamond.

Malouda is standing by his original view that he should play more frequently, but claims he has nothing against Lampard or Ancelotti, a point he made to them in a face-to-face meeting on Sunday morning before the club's 5-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Watford.

"It put me in a difficult position, but I reacted like a man," Malouda said. "I spoke with the manager and with Lamps (Lampard) to make everything clear, and tell them what I said and that in no way did those words come out of my mouth.

"It was not easy to have to do that on the day of the game, but we're big players and the situation is very clear with everybody. I just gave an interview in France which was really badly translated and that's it. The situation is clear and there are no problems here between me and the manager, and me and Lamps. That's the way we have to sort out the problems."


Malouda, who scored in the 5-0 victory, also revealed that he went to see Ancelotti several weeks ago to voice fears that being left on the substitutes' bench could harm his World Cup prospects, although his complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

"We spoke, as managers and players have these discussions most of the time," Malouda said. "I spoke about my frustrations about not appearing in the big games because of the World Cup. It is a World Cup year and I have ambitions with the French team and want to start the big games, that's it."

Meanwhile, young forward Daniel Sturridge is hoping that his two goals in the win over Watford will be enough to keep his place in the side, with Nicolas Anelka expected to return from a hamstring injury for the match away to Hull City on Saturday.

"If more opportunities don't come after this, I am going to keep coming back anyway," Sturridge said.

"It is good for confidence that the manager believes in us young players. When the big boys come back, hopefully we will be able to give them some problems so that we can get ourselves in the team."