MUNICH — Jerome Boateng has said Bayern Munich players were “shocked” by Carlo Ancelotti’s team selection for the Champions League defeat at Paris Saint-Germain.
Ancelotti, sacked as Bayern coach after the 3-0 loss, left Mats Hummels, Arjen Robben, Kingsley Coman and Franck Ribery on the bench, while Boateng did not feature and watched the game from the stands.
The defender told Suddeutsche Zeitung: “It was really odd. Five of us were suddenly told in the team room — without any explanation — 90 minutes before the game that we weren’t playing.
“You can say that the players in question were shocked.”
Reports said senior Bayern players were unhappy with Ancelotti’s coaching methods, with claims that injuries occurred in games because of his relaxed regime.
Boateng said: “It can never be proven that one is linked to the other, but let’s just say we trained differently than how we were used to. As a player, you know whether you are 100 percent or not.”
The Germany international suffered a number of muscle injuries last season, starting only 10 Bundesliga games as Bayern won a fifth successive league title, and said: “These were dark days, in particular because, for many years, I had remained almost injury-free and then everything suddenly came all at once at full throttle.
“It was especially tough following my shoulder injury. I was able to play again after three months out, but it wasn’t the same Boateng. I had the feeling I was in another body.”
Jupp Heynckes took over from Ancelotti, his fourth spell in charge of the champions, and Boateng said: “Heynckes is more than the coach with whom we won the treble with in 2013.
“We spoke on the telephone regularly following his departure. He’s one of the few who got in touch when it was not going so well for me, for example during my time out with injuries.”
Heynckes has steered Bayern to four straight league wins, leaving them four points clear at the top of the table, and have also progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League and the last 16 of the DFB Pokal.
Boateng said: “His dignified manner has played a huge role in our present success.
“Every player is considered part of the group, and he makes everyone feel important. That gives us players the feeling that we wish to give something back to this man.
“I am feeling very happy in Munich once again.”
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.