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Five Aside

Ancelotti to reward Beckham form

Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti has hit back at the stinging criticism of David Beckham in the French media and insisted he will hand him another start in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona next week.

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Beckham won positive reviews in his English homeland for his display in the first tussle with Barca in Paris on Tuesday night, but there were scathing appraisals of his efforts in the French media, with one newspaper giving the veteran midfielder just three out of ten for his efforts.

Now Ancelotti has hit back at the critics of the 37-year-old, with the confirmation that Beckham will start at the Nou Camp next week likely to infuriate the cynics intent on undermining his efforts at PSG.

"It's not normal and unjust," Ancelotti said of the criticism flowing Beckham's way. "He had a really good match, he followed exactly what I told him to do. If Paris was good in the first 30 minutes against Barca, it's because Beckham was good. I don't understand the criticism.

"Sometimes players don't play because they haven't been training well. Beckham deserves to be on the pitch even if he is 37. He will definitely start the return match. The aim is to put out a team that can win the match. I'm not a Beckham supporter, nor a friend of Beckham. I try to be objective."

Ancelotti went on to angrily dismiss speculation that pressure was applied on him by his PSG bosses to play Beckham against Barcelona, insisting he is in complete control of team selection at the capital city club.

"I've had a lot of experience with these type of comments," he added. "It happened to me at AC Milan several times. People have to understand that you can't force a coach to use a player, because in this case, the coach can say to the president: 'OK, you're doing the coaching and I go home'.

"Presidents are very intelligent. In any case, with the ones I've had, (Silvio) Berlusconi, (Roman) Abramovich, Nasser (Al-Khelaifi), it never happened with me (that he was asked to pick certain players).

"I started coaching in 1995 and I've never been sacked mid-season. That means that I've never had pressure to use a player, because if I had I would have gone home or gone on holiday. It annoys me that people can think that."


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