Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has defended the decision to force France international Florent Malouda to train with the club's Under-21 side.
Malouda, who has won five major trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge, failed to find a new club after he was given permission to leave Chelsea during the summer and now finds himself in limbo, with his prospects of a return to Di Matteo's first team looking bleak.
However, the Chelsea boss makes no excuses for the move to exile the experienced winger and insists the rest of his first team have accepted Malouda's removal him from the senior set-up.
"The players have accepted the decision with Malouda and they are just going to focus on their targets for this season," he told reporters. "In recent times, there has been an expression from the players that he wants to part company with Chelsea, but it hasn't happened.
"Meanwhile, we have brought in other players and they are the ones we're going to work with this season. It was a combined decision between the club and myself to ask him to work with the younger players and that's it.
"It's obviously not a positive message or decision from his perspective, but we have to look after our own interests and that's the decision we have taken. The transfer window will open again in January and we will see what we can do about this situation then."