Former France coach Raymond Domenech has ended his 10-year absence from professional football by signing a short-term deal with Ligue 1 side Nantes.

Domenech left his post as France boss after a disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign that was marred by a mutiny and reported bust-ups between members of the coaching staff and senior players.

Nicolas Anelka appeared to lambast Domenech during a defeat to Mexico and was subsequently excluded from the team, before captain Patrice Evra and one of Domenech's coaches were involved in a heated altercation that led to the team refusing to train.

France then lost 2-1 to South Africa as Les Bleus finished bottom of their group, and that proved to be Domenech's final game in charge.

Since then, the only other managerial role Domenech has held was as the boss of Brittany's national team for three years until 2019.

Brittany play occasional unofficial international matches against other nations, representing the northern-west region of France.

But after over a decade away from the elite game, Domenech is back in Ligue 1, with this his first club role since 1993 when he left Lyon.

A Nantes statement read: "FC Nantes announces the arrival of Raymond Domenech as main coach of the professional group, as of December 26, 2020.

"The technician is committed until the end of the 2020-2021 season."

He takes over Nantes amid something of a relegation battle, with the club only three points above the bottom three.

Christian Gourcuff was sacked earlier this month after a difficult start to the season, though they took only two points from their following four matches.

 

Kylian Mbappe was replaced in the second half of Paris Saint-Germain's victory over Nantes as a precautionary measure, head coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

The France international was seen holding his thigh when replaced by Bandiougou Fadiga 16 minutes from time in Saturday's Ligue 1 clash at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

He had earlier set up Ander Herrera for the opening goal of the match and scored the second from a penalty that he had himself won, before Pablo Sarabia added a late third.

Moise Kean was also taken off at half-time but Tuchel, who lost Neymar to an adductor injury earlier this week, does not expect the pair to spend any time on the sidelines. 

"With Mbappe I think it's not a injury, but more fatigue," he told Canal+. "The same goes for Kean. He took a lot of hits, which was painful. He wanted to continue but I said 'no'.

"Now is not the time to take too many risks. I really hope we don't have any new injured players."

Providing an update on PSG's other walking wounded at his post-match news conference ahead of Wednesday's trip to RB Leipzig, Tuchel said: "I hope that Leandro Paredes will resume training on Monday, but I'm not sure about Mauro Icardi."

PSG failed to register a single shot on target in the first half but were much improved in the second period as they made it seven league wins in a row to consolidate top spot.

The reigning champions have now won 70 per cent of their Ligue 1 away games under Tuchel – the best percentage for a PSG coach in their history – and the German was pleased with the mental resolve showed by his side.

"I am very happy," he said. "You've got to remember there are no spectators, so games lack that energy and atmosphere. 

"It's difficult for my team. We played a very serious game today. I saw good energy, more qualities in the second half and a bit of luck in the game. 3-0 is a great victory.

"The team was mentally tired and there were a lot of changes. I knew it wouldn't be an easy game. With fatigue, it's like that. We found shorter distances in the second half, more connections. It was better."

PSG's win was not as routine as the scoreline may suggest, with Moses Simon missing a sitter from three yards in the first half and Kader Bamba having a penalty saved by Keylor Navas at 2-0.

Navas now has five clean sheets in six Ligue 1 appearances this term – only Bordeaux's Benoit Costil, with six from eight matches, has more – while no keeper to have played at least two games has a better save percentage than his 92.86.

"I think the team played a good game today," Navas, who captained the side, said after the match.

"We have a lot of injuries. There have been team-mates who have the opportunity to play and they have done it well.

"It was a united team display. We are happy and we hope to be able to recover some of the injured players in the next matches to be stronger."

Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain extended their winning Ligue 1 run to seven matches with a 3-0 victory over Nantes on Saturday.

PSG were without injured forward Neymar and that told in a poor first half as the visitors failed to register an attempt on target until the 47th minute when Ander Herrera swept home.

Nantes were unfortunate not to be a goal ahead at that point, Moses Simon somehow missing an open goal from all of three yards at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

Mbappe added a second from a penalty he won and Pablo Sarabia profited from a defensive error late on to seal the win, but only after Keylor Navas had kept out Kader Bamba's penalty at a delicate point in the game.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he was "worried" after France went back into lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

France headed into lockdown on Friday, when the country reported 49,215 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 545 deaths.

Like sport around the world, Ligue 1 was suspended in March due to coronavirus, but the 2020-21 season is set to continue despite the wave of infections.

Tuchel said he was concerned, but added he had become accustomed to being regularly tested for COVID-19.

"We are not just professional players or coaches. We are human beings. These are big changes that influence everyone. We are worried like everyone else," he said.

"It is our challenge and our responsibility to adapt to all the rules. We trust [French president Emmanuel] Macron and [German chancellor Angela] Merkel. That is a certainty. We have to do this together, it's our obligation.

"We will accept all the rules and we will adapt. Here we are going through a lot of [COVID-19] tests.

"It's almost a habit for me to have something in my nose. It has become a habit almost every morning."

Ligue 1 leaders PSG visit Nantes on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel hit out at the scheduling of games, warning the fixturing would "kill the players".

The Ligue 1 giants will visit Nantes on Saturday in what will be their fifth game in 16 days.

PSG will then face RB Leipzig and Rennes before the international break, and their players will return for 10 games between November 20 and the end of the year.

Tuchel slammed the scheduling, with PSG having seen star Neymar suffer an adductor injury in a 2-0 Champions League win at Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday.

"We're going to kill the players. That's what I've always said. We are going to kill them because there is an important link between preparation, performance and rest," he told a news conference.

"In football it always falls on the greatest players because they will always play for their country. They play during the break, they travel and that's too much in my opinion. They don't have a recovery phase to allow them to come back and a preparation phase. This is not a secret, it happens in sport. Preparation influences injuries and performance.

"Without preparation, players are more fragile and difficult to manage. This is not an excuse, it is the truth. We are going to look for solutions and I hope we will find some."

Tuchel said it was not just his side dealing with injuries, highlighting setbacks at Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester City and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

"Honestly, we came back [from Turkey on Thursday] and [Friday] is our second day after playing. It's the riskiest day in terms of injuries, which means we're doing almost nothing," he said.

"We are working on recovery and training a little with those who haven't played at Basaksehir and [on Saturday] we are flying out to play another match, this time in Ligue 1.

"We lose a player for every game at the moment and we are not the only ones concerned. Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, it's the same thing."

PSG top the Ligue 1 table after earning 18 points from their opening eight games.

Bordeaux and Nantes played out a goalless draw as Ligue 1 returned in uninspiring fashion.

The 2019-20 season was cancelled and settled on a points-per-game basis back in April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And 166 days after Lille and Lyon played the final game of that campaign on March 8, Bordeaux hosted Nantes at the Matmut Atlantique to get the 2020-21 season under way.

They provided little for the small socially distanced crowd in the stadium to get excited about, with Bordeaux midfielder Mehdi Zerkane's dismissal following a VAR review of his foul on Nicolas Pallois the main flashpoint of a game low on quality.

However, new Bordeaux boss Jean-Louis Gasset, who took over following Paulo Sousa's exit, will have been pleased with the resolve his side showed after going down to 10 men.

Each team had just one shot on target and better will be expected in the six remaining fixtures of the opening round. The games between Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain and Metz and semi-finalists Lyon and Montpellier were postponed until September, while positive coronavirus tests forced Marseille's clash with Saint-Etienne to be pushed back.

Paris Saint-Germain will begin their Ligue 1 title defence at home to Metz after the French Professional Football League (LFP) announced its 2020-21 top-flight schedule.

The first round of matches will take place on the weekend of August 22-23, with the season set to conclude on May 23 next year.

PSG were awarded their seventh top-flight title in eight seasons after the 2019-20 campaign was abandoned and decided on a point-per-game basis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The abandonment move has since been questioned amid other elite divisions in Europe successfully resuming their seasons behind closed doors.

An LFP vote sealed Amiens and Toulouse's relegation, with Lorient and Lens promoted from Ligue 2 in their place.

Lorient host Strasbourg on the opening weekend, while Lens are on the road at Nice.

The first Classique of the season comes in the third round of fixtures, with PSG welcoming Marseille to the Parc des Princes in mid-September. The return is billed for February 7.

Marseille start at home to Saint-Etienne, with Bordeaux and Lille hosting Nantes and Rennes respectively.

Lyon begin on the road at Montpellier, with the first of their always feisty clashes against Marseille coming at Groupama Stadium on October 4. The rivalry is then scheduled to resume at the Stade Velodrome on February 28.

Ligue 1 2020-21 – Opening weekend fixtures in full:

Lorient v Strasbourg
Nimes v Brest
Dijon v Angers
Bordeaux v Nantes
Monaco v Reims
Montpellier v Lyon
Nice v Lens
Lille v Rennes
Marseille v Saint-Etienne
PSG v Metz

Pedro Chirivella will leave Liverpool at the end of his contract and join Nantes on a three-year deal.

Chirivella, 23, spent seven years with the Reds after joining as a teenager from hometown club Valencia.

He was reportedly offered a new five-year deal by the European champions, but the former Spain youth international is said to have rejected those terms in order to seek first-team football elsewhere.

A technically gifted midfielder, Chirivella spent three loans spells away from Liverpool, playing for Go Ahead Eagles and Willem II in the Netherlands, plus a brief stint with Spanish Segunda side Extremadura prior to the coronavirus suspension, though he was unable to feature for the latter due to an apparent administrative error in his registration.

He will join Nantes on a deal until 2023, having played just 11 times for Liverpool.

Nantes president Waldemar Kita is hopeful the Ligue 1 season will resume "in a month or two" and sees no reason why "privileged" footballers should remain off work if the rest of the public return to their duties.

France implemented lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic on March 17, with professional football in the country paused four days earlier.

While voiding the season has been disregarded as an option, according to Bernard Caiazzo, who is president of the union representing Ligue 1 clubs, the fate of the campaign remains a constant topic of debate.

With the country seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, president Emmanuel Macron extended the lockdown earlier this month to May 11.

And if that date coincides with many of the public going back to work, Kita sees no reason for football not to follow suit.

"Even if it is in a month or two, I believe it is time for life to resume," he told Le Parisien. "I have always felt that intellectually, mentally and financially, people had to work, but I think of those who have no money and who will soon be forced to.

"Some will have to return to work by getting up at 5am, taking the metro to earn €1,200 while enjoying minimal security. Why does a footballer, who will be surrounded by all the necessary health precautions, not return not to work? Because he is privileged and he lives in his bubble?"

Kita also believes even the return of football behind closed doors will have an impact on the nation's morale.

"We are in perfect financial health," he added. "If I only thought about the economic side of it, I would say that because of the closed doors I will lose a lot of revenue, but the matches behind closed doors are essential at first to protect the players and our spectators.

"We have to find activity and life in our country and football has a part. Watching a match, even on TV, can contribute to this return to life and give a little morale to people after this period of pain."

Presnel Kimpembe may have been guilty of "overconfidence" with the mistake that preceded a tense finale in Paris Saint-Germain's 2-1 victory over Nantes on Tuesday, said Thomas Tuchel.

Mauro Icardi's first-half goal was added to by Thilo Kehrer to put PSG in control of the Ligue 1 game at La Beaujoire, on a night when the Parisians were without Neymar due to a rib injury.

However, Kimpembe's attempt to flick a pass from Marco Verratti behind his standing leg and to Kehrer ended up going straight to Moses Simon, who raced through to score with 22 minutes remaining.

Simon missed a one-on-one with Keylor Navas and substitute Renaud Emond wasted a glorious chance to snatch a point for Nantes in stoppage time.

"Sometimes it's like that. The pitch was difficult and I am impressed with the way we played for 70 minutes," Tuchel told Canal+.

"It was excellent. We were aggressive and we had total control. We could have made 4-0 and after one mistake, it was 2-1.

"It may be overconfidence, but it can happen. You shouldn't take too many risks. They had opportunities and played with great courage afterwards.

"It's football. But the most important thing is that we had quality, and we always had opportunities to score the third. But the mentality is excellent."

Kylian Mbappe started despite reacting angrily to being substituted during Saturday's 5-0 victory over Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.

The World Cup winner was bright in the first half but missed a couple of chances as PSG came under pressure in the closing stages.

Asked for his assessment of Mbappe's display, Tuchel said: "He played a top match."

Kehrer was frustrated PSG were unable to find a third goal but refused to lay blame on Kimpembe for the pressure they came under.

"In the second half, we had big chances, but we didn't score and we didn't kill the match. We knew that Nantes play well at home and remain aggressive. They pushed and it was not easy," said Kehrer.

"I don't think [Kimpembe's mistake] made us doubtful. We felt like we were always in control. In matches, there are always mistakes. We are a team and we are here to win."

Mauro Icardi and Thilo Kehrer were on target as Paris Saint-Germain ground out a 2-1 win against Nantes in the absence of Neymar at La Beaujoire on Tuesday.

The build-up to the game was overshadowed by talk of discontent at PSG, with Thomas Tuchel frustrated by Neymar's decision to hold a birthday party on Sunday and Kylian Mbappe reacting angrily to being substituted in Saturday's 5-0 victory over Montpellier.

The announcement that Neymar would miss the trip to Nantes with a rib injury consequently proved controversial, but Icardi and Kehrer put the visitors on the path to what looked set to be a routine win.

Moses Simon capitalised on an error from Presnel Kimpembe in the 68th minute to set up a tense final but PSG held on to make it seven straight wins in all competitions and extend their unbeaten run to 20 games.

Icardi saw his first effort in the third minute denied by Denis Petric, while Mbappe had a penalty appeal ignored after going down under pressure from Andrei Girotto.

Mbappe raced in behind the Nantes defence but lifted his attempt over, before Kimpembe saw a header cleared off the line by Abdoul Kader Bamba.

PSG got the breakthrough their attacking play deserved in the 29th minute when Mbappe sprinted beyond Girotto and cut the ball back to Angel Di Maria, whose sweeping shot found the bottom-right corner with the help of the slightest of deflections off Icardi.

Girotto's attempt to cut out a cross from Di Maria sent the ball crashing against his own crossbar early in the second half, but they doubled their lead in the 57th minute when the Argentine's corner was headed home by Kehrer.

Nantes responded positively and Kimpembe's attempt to flick a heavy pass from Marco Verratti to Kehrer was intercepted by Simon, who raced away and tucked a cool finish beyond Keylor Navas.

Substitute Thomas Meunier was kept at bay by Petric in the 90th minute and Renaud Emond missed a glorious chance to equalise in stoppage time, sending a tame volley too close to Navas.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar will miss Tuesday's Ligue 1 match away at Nantes due to a rib injury.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel insisted the Brazil international's decision to hold a 28th birthday party two days before the fixture would not impact upon his team selection, despite describing the event as a "distraction".

But Neymar will not be involved after PSG left him out of their 19-man squad, citing a rib cartilage injury that was confirmed after tests were carried out on Monday.

Neymar played the full 90 minutes in the 5-0 home win over nine-man Montpellier on Saturday, though he had limped off towards the end of the first half in an injury scare following an awkward landing in a challenge with Arnaud Souquet.

PSG confirmed the injury did relate to that incident and will hope to have the forward back in time to face Lyon on Sunday.

The Montpellier clash was a match that also saw Neymar fume at referee Jerome Brisard, earning him a booking for dissent, with reports documenting an angry exchange with the match official that continued into the tunnel.

Neymar's fellow forward Kylian Mbappe is selected in the group to take on Nantes despite his exchange with Tuchel after being substituted in the second half.

Tuchel was unimpressed after the victory, reminding Mbappe it is he who decides which players come on or off, but said in his pre-match news conference he did not think the situation would prompt the France international to seek a transfer.

Along with Neymar, the club's injury list includes Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Ander Herrera, Juan Bernat, Abdou Diallo, Colin Dagba and Garissone Innocent.

Neymar has 13 goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances this season, helping leaders PSG open up a 12-point advantage over Marseille in second.

Kylian Mbappe appeared angry at being substituted on Saturday but Thomas Tuchel does not think the attacker will use it as a reason to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel replaced Mbappe with Mauro Icardi in the 68th minute of PSG's 5-0 win over Montpellier and was involved in a heated discussion with the World Cup-winning France star.

The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane has made no effort to hide his admiration for the former Monaco striker.

However, Tuchel does not expect their confrontation to be the beginning of the end of Mbappe's time in Paris.

"I can't think that Mbappe might use this situation as a reason to leave the club," he said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Nantes in Ligue 1.

"He is one of our players, he has a contract. I took that decision and this is the coach's job.

"It's not personal between us. It's just a thing between a player who doesn't want to be substituted and a coach who has reasons to do so, because he has players on the bench who need and deserve to play.

"The problem is there are cameras, fans, journalists, and a lot of people want to talk about it. This is why I was sad. There were a lot of positive things to talk about on the pitch.

"I talked with Leo [sporting director Leonardo], as we usually do, at 11, after the game. But it will be between us and the staff, it stays in the locker room."

Tuchel issued a defiant response when asked if he made the decision because it is easier for him to take off Mbappe rather than Neymar.

"If I wanted to be a politician I would work in politics. I am a coach. I can only think about sports," said Tuchel.

"I made the decision to leave Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the bench, starting with Pablo Sarabia, they didn't like that obviously. But that's a sporting choice.

"Sometimes it's better to have a left- or right-footed player, but I cannot think about politics. I cannot think it is hard to leave an individual on the bench.

"I am convinced that the players and the dressing room, everyone understands those decisions because this is how it works. I am the coach and have to make hard decisions.

"It's the same with substitutions. I decided that the game was finished. We have the possibility to let Pablo and Kylian leave the pitch and put Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the pitch because they deserved it. Julian Draxler could have played instead of Neymar, but I am not scared. Why should I be?

"I decided that Leandro Paredes deserved [to come one] because he was captain against Pau and played a great game. He deserved to start. This is why I wanted to give him some time on the pitch.

"I know it is hard for some players to accept, but in the end, for me, the only thing they have to accept are sporting things.

"If I start playing politics, I'm going to get lost. Everyone will put pressure on me and I'll only substitute Tanguy Kouassi because he's the youngest."

Thomas Tuchel denied there is a crisis at Paris Saint-Germain but expressed frustration over Neymar's birthday party, though it will not affect his team selection against Nantes.

Neymar marked turning 28 by inviting his team-mates, friends and family to a white-themed celebration at a nightclub in Paris on Sunday, just two days before PSG face Nantes in Ligue 1.

Tuchel branded the party a "distraction" following a 5-0 victory over Montpellier on Saturday, but said as long as players arrive to training on time and work hard it will not factor into his starting XI.

"You know that I always protect my players. I have a lot of reasons to do so because I have confidence, trust and really like my team. With the party, well, I accept the fact it is quite hard to protect players," said the PSG coach.

"But the context is bigger than just saying something is black or white. But I can't think about it for the starting 11. I cannot start thinking about who was there, who attended, at what time they left, thinking about what time they got home. I am the coach. Everybody has to be on time. Everyone will have to train seriously.

"Is it the best way to prepare for a game? No, obviously. Is it the worst thing that can happen? No, but it's a pity because we gave people the opportunity to talk badly about us.

"It's a shame because the team has a very strong mindset and now we need to adapt, but not in the way that I will have to leave players on the bench because they had a birthday party. No, it's not like that."

Tuchel, who was involved in a touchline confrontation with Kylian Mbappe after substituting him against Montpellier, did not attend Neymar's event but refuted the suggestion his relationship with PSG's star players has hit a nadir.

"It's not a crisis. I am not angry personally. I am the coach, they are top players and we need them both," added Tuchel, who said the pair could yet start together at La Beaujoire.

"We need them to win games. We play every three days. They are important and in the end we need to manage players within a strong team. We cannot have a split team. This is football and I'm absolutely convinced that only together can we be stronger.

"I am not angry with them. Sometimes in the relationship between a coach and a player, things are not easy. It's completely normal. It happens, and we have to be very calm, very clear and we have to keep going because it's not a big deal

"I decided not to be there during the celebration. It was my choice and that's it. It's nothing personal against Ney. It was my choice as the coach because it's the best thing for the coach not to be there."

Kylian Mbappe appeared angry at being substituted on Saturday but Thomas Tuchel does not think the attacker will use it as a reason to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel replaced Mbappe with Mauro Icardi in the 68th minute of PSG's 5-0 win over Montpellier and was involved in a heated discussion with the World Cup-winning France star.

The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane has made no effort to hide his admiration for the former Monaco striker.

However, Tuchel does not expect their confrontation to be the beginning of the end of Mbappe's time in Paris.

"I can't think that Mbappe might use this situation as a reason to leave the club," he said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Nantes in Ligue 1.

"He is one of our players, he has a contract. I took that decision and this is the coach's job.

"It's not personal between us. It's just a thing between a player who doesn't want to be substituted and a coach who has reasons to do so, because he has players on the bench who need and deserve to play.

"The problem is there are cameras, fans, journalists, and a lot of people want to talk about it. This is why I was sad. There were a lot of positive things to talk about on the pitch.

"I talked with Leo [sporting director Leonardo], as we usually do, at 11, after the game. But it will be between us and the staff, it stays in the locker room."

Tuchel issued a defiant response when asked if he made the decision because it is easier for him to take off Mbappe rather than Neymar.

"If I wanted to be a politician I would work in politics. I am a coach. I can only think about sports," said Tuchel.

"I made the decision to leave Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the bench, starting with Pablo Sarabia, they didn't like that obviously. But that's a sporting choice.

"Sometimes it's better to have a left or right footed played, but I cannot think about politics. I cannot think it is hard to leave an individual on the bench.

"I am convinced that the players and the dressing room, everyone understands those decisions because this is how it works. I am the coach and have to make hard decisions.

"It's the same with substitutions. I decided that the game was finished. We have the possibility to let Pablo and Kylian leave the pitch and put Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the pitch because they deserved it. Julian Draxler could have played instead of Neymar, but I am not scared. Why should I be?

"I decided that Leandro Paredes deserved [to come one] because he was captain against Pau and played a great game. He deserved to start. This is why I wanted to give him some time on the pitch.

"I know it is hard for some players to accept, but in the end, for me, the only thing they have to accept are sporting things.

"If I start playing politics, I'm going to get lost. Everyone will put pressure on me and I'll only substitute Tanguy Kouassi because he's the youngest."

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