It was with a four-man defense that France played in Croatia on Monday evening. For a parity score on arrival (1-1). Didier Deschamps gives his opinion on the performance of a largely redesigned French team for the occasion.
What is the prevailing feeling tonight?
There are of course regrets because our end of the game was less consistent than the first 80 minutes. We had control despite many changes, we had two chances to lead 2-0, it’s also football… We could have lost too because we conceded a lot of chances. With the public pushing, the lines stretched, we experienced some loss of ball that we could have avoided, including in the first period. I can’t be fully satisfied, of course, but overall, let’s say, there are more positives.
Why revert to a four-man defense?
There have been many forced and forced changes. For each eleven that starts, the objective is to put all the players in the best possible conditions, this was the case this evening. In the offensive animation, of course, we can always improve. But why not change the system? It’s not fixed. To change is not to renounce what we have done before. Now is the time to do it because even if we are in the competition, in the League of Nations, these are also preparation matches.
How did you find Aurélien Tchouaméni, does he shake up the competition in his position in view of his performances?
I found him to perform better in March, but it’s also true that he’s the only player who has continued… He’s not a robot, he’s a young player who is in a particular situation, with an important choice to make for his career. He’s solid and consistent, he’s had a few ball losses that he can avoid, but he’s there! Young people are growing, and that’s good.
What explains these difficult ends of matches, like Friday against Denmark…
Credit goes to the opponent too. We gave them the opportunity to equalize with this penalty, but when we try to win, to make the difference at the end of the game, there is inevitably less balance. It’s more related to the end of the match than to the changes, because there are always changes. We have to do a lot to manage the physique of each player. Tonight there were less than 200 caps from the entire starting XI. We have more with simply Hugo (Lloris) and Antoine (Griezmann) on the ground. This is not an excuse, but there are necessarily fewer automatisms.
With one point in two matches, do you still have the ambition to qualify or will you focus on testing?
We are in a competition. It is certain that by taking one point out of six, we are not in the best mood, but we play above all to win, qualification for the final phase remains the objective but these are also preparation matches. At this time of year, anyway, it’s difficult for all the teams.
What did you think of Presnel Kimpembe’s match?
He was in control and aggressive, he was also more exposed at the end of the match, so we conceded more chances
but it’s not just related to him. There were more spaces in our defense but overall “Kim” was solid and clean in his ball outings. He was captain tonight, he’s an athletic and expressive leader, and that’s important for the group, especially tonight because there was less experience on the pitch.
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