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Sagnol disciplined for slamming Bayern

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, UEFA Europa League 30 Apr 2008

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French defender Willy Sagnol was not on the plane to St Petersburg on Wednesday for the UEFA Cup semi-final, second-leg, after being disciplined by Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

The 31-year-old Frenchman was left behind in Munich after complaining to the media following Sunday’s 4-1 win over VfB Stuttgart where he was played out of position in midfield.

He will miss Thursday’s UEFA Cup semi-final at Zenit St Petersburg, having missed the first-leg, which finished in a 1-1 draw.

“Sagnol will have to watch for the time being,” said Hitzfeld on the club’s website.

“He’s not coming with us to St Petersburg, he’ll train here twice instead.”

This is not the first time this season Sagnol has criticised the club, having slammed Bayern’s bosses for his lack of match time in December last year and he was angry at being chosen in midfield for Stuttgart.

“I don’t enjoy this position at all,” Sagnol said after the game.

“I’m still in a trough. I was hoping for more help in getting out of it, but it’s not been forthcoming.”

But Hitzfeld explained his decision and had no time for the Frenchman’s complaints.

“As a defender you’re often last man and have to go one-on-one, but he’s not yet recovered his pace and match rhythm,” said the Bayern coach, who leaves in July to coach Switzerland.

“So I was trying to accommodate him, in that I actually gave him a game in the first place, because he has no automatic right to be playing at the moment.

“There are other players in better shape than him.”

Hitzfeld says he wants “to assist” Sagnol with much-needed match practice in the run-up to this summer’s Euro 2008.

“In the meantime, he’s apologised twice to me personally for the remarks he made,” said Hitzfeld.

“I told him he needs to work even harder on himself to rediscover the old Willy Sagnol, and we all have extremely good memories of him.”

Sagnol required surgery on a serious cartilage injury in early April last year, and only resumed the squad programme in late November.

The France star was then sidelined for several weeks with a slipped disc in March this year.

Sagnol has made 15 appearances for Bayern so far this season.

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