Domenech backs Benzema after admission

PARIS - France coach Raymond Domenech has offered to help striker Karim Benzema after the player's 'unacceptable' admission that he had not felt like giving his best in last month's match against Serbia.

The Real Madrid player told a news conference last Sunday that he did not "really feel like playing, really feel like giving (my) best" when he came off the bench with five minutes left in the World Cup qualifier which ended in a 1-1 draw.

"I do not condemn anyone on a sentence," Domenech told reporters on Thursday after he named Benzema in his 24-man squad to face the Faroe Islands and Austria in their next World Cup qualifiers.

"It is not good to say (what he said). You can think this way a little bit but you cannot say it. It is unacceptable but I remain optimistic.

"I think he wants to do well. I want to offer a helping hand, even when someone is wrong and that is the case."

Benzema, who is enjoying a fine start in La Liga with Real Madrid after joining from Olympique Lyon during the close season, has been struggling to make an impact with France.

The 21-year-old has scored six goals from 25 caps and lies behind Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka in Domenech's pecking order.