Didier Deschamps criticised over players tribute to arrested team-mate

• Marseille manager admits allowing 'tactless' show of support
• The striker Brandão was detained on allegation of rape

The Marseille manager, Didier Deschamps, has been accused of committing a serious misjudgment ahead of locking horns with Sir Alex Ferguson in the Champions League on Tuesday after the Frenchman admitted being aware of the tribute that his players planned to pay on Friday to a team-mate arrested for rape.

Brandão, the Marseille striker who played against United in the first leg three weeks ago, was detained by police last Tuesday and held for two nights before being conditionally released following an allegation of rape made by a 23-year-old woman.

The striker, who maintains his innocence, has been allowed to return to his native Brazil as he awaits a possible trial, but the way that some of his team-mates chose to express their support for him over the weekend has drawn widespread criticism.

When Loïc Rémy opened the scoring for Marseille in their 2-0 win at the Ligue 1 joint-leaders Rennes, two players, the winger André Ayew and the midfielder Stéphane Mbia, ran to the travelling fans and held aloft a jersey bearing the name Brandão. Later in the match some of the Marseille substitutes waved the same jersey into TV cameras.

Given the seriousness of the allegation against Brandão such displays were denounced as crass and there was surprise when Deschamps revealed that he had known his players were planning the controversial celebration. "Yes, I was aware of it but I didn't forbid it," he told La Provence newspaper. "It was meant well. Brandão is one of ours. It was just a nod to him, don't read too much into the idea."

The Marseille president, Jean-Claude Dassier, publicly berated Deschamps for allowing the display to go ahead. When told by La Provence that most fans were shocked by the players' celebration, Dassier replied: "And with good reason. I was not informed about it, I would have stopped it. I understand the need to try to comfort a team-mate but a bit of tact would have been welcome.

"Frankly it was too much, a mistake. If Didier knew about it he should have told me because I would have made sure good sense prevailed. Because of their clumsiness this issue has become as important as our win."

The win is what Deschamps preferred to concentrate on, since it brought Marseille to within one point of the top of the table ahead of what he termed "the marvellous aside" of the match against United. Having lost at home to Lille the previous weekend Deschamps made some tactical adjustments against Rennes that he may deploy against United.

He shifted Mbia from the centre of defence into midfield to lend extra dynamism. Gabriel Heinze moved from left-back to the centre of defence, allowing the Nigeria international Taye Taiwo to return to the starting line-up at full-back. Taiwo's ferocious long-range shooting could pose a threat to United.

Perhaps most significantly of all, the influential forward Mathieu Valbuena, who has been sidelined with knee trouble for most of the last six weeks, came off the bench in the second half to demonstrate his fitness, meaning he is likely to start at Old Trafford. André-Pierre Gignac replaced Brandão as the fulcrum of the team's attack but Rémy may fill that role instead against United.

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