Malouda still respects Henry

France winger not proud of play-off victory

Malouda: Backing Henry

Malouda: Backing Henry

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Florent Malouda has admitted that France are not proud of the way they qualified for the World Cup, but has defended under-fire team-mate Thierry Henry.

Henry has been criticised following a handball in the World Cup play-off against Republic of Ireland that was not spotted by referee Martin Hansson.

It proved to be a decisive mistake from the official as Henry crossed for William Gallas to head home the goal that took Les Bleus through on aggregate.

Malouda does not believe Henry is a dishonest player but concedes that it was a not a moment that should be celebrated.

"We are not really proud of the way we qualified because it was a handball," the Chelsea winger, speaking at a charity function organised by Didier Drogba to raise money for a hospital in Ivory Coast, told Sky Sports News.

"At the time we were happy to be qualified but after you can see that everybody is trying to comment.

"Henry knows how to deal with that. He is an honest person, he is not a cheat and I think all the players still have a lot of respect for him."