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Deschamps stands down at Monaco

AS Monaco FC coach Didier Deschamps has resigned following the French club's dismal start to the season, to be replaced by caretaker Jean Petit.

Resignation accepted
Deschamps offered his resignation to Monaco president Michel Pastor this morning and it was accepted. Pastor said: "I saw Deschamps at 11.30am when he gave me his resignation letter. Of course I accepted it. I am not going to stand in the way of someone who wants to leave."

Disastrous defeats
Monaco lost 2-0 at home to Stade Rennais FC on Sunday, finishing with nine men after Akis Zikos and Sébastien Squillaci were sent off. Having been expected to challenge for the title, they are now 15th in Ligue 1 after four defeats in their first seven games. The principality outfit also lost to Real Betis Balompié in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Police protection
Monaco have not scored at home in domestic competition for two and a half months, and Deschamps was absent from Sunday's post-match press conference for the second weekend running. He left the stadium under police protection while a group of supporters called for his resignation.

'Not a big club'
Deschamps recently complained about the club's lack of finances, saying Monaco "are not a big club". Yet last night defender Gaël Givet appeared convinced Deschamps would continue: "We know him, he's not the kind of person to quit. We have to react together. We have to believe in him, otherwise there's no point playing," he said.

Champions League final
The 36-year-old former French international was appointed in 2001. The highlight of his tenure came in May 2004 when Monaco reached the Champions League final, losing 3-0 to FC Porto. His immediate successor, Petit, has spent 35 years at Stade Louis II, working as chief scout, sporting manager, assistant coach and now caretaker boss. "We will stay calm and wait a fortnight before announcing the new coach," said Pastor.

Glittering career
Defensive midfielder Deschamps enjoyed a glittering playing career, collecting FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship and two Champions League winner's medals. He played 103 times for France, and had spells at FC Nantes Atlantique, Olympique de Marseille, FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Juventus FC, Chelsea FC and Valencia CF. The Monaco job was his first as head coach.