This Tuesday at the Stade de France, the Blues beat Sweden (4-2) in the League of Nations for their last match of the year. For Didier Deschamps, a happy coach, the strength of this team lies in its state of mind.
Are you reassured by the last two results of your selection?
DIDIER DESCHAMPS. I was not annoyed after Finland. There was our great performance in Portugal and we had to repeat this evening against a catchy opponent who did not want to go down to League B. We took 16 points out of 18, nobody will do better in Europe, and in a group where there was the reigning European champion and the vice-world champion. Everything is not perfect, I do not want to boast but you have to appreciate what we have done with different players, different systems. You have to savor. It is also a question of panache. We have maintained the level. Well done to the whole group!
How do you explain precisely that your players always maintain the level?
They are top players and the state of mind is there. Executives have an important role, even if they happen to be less well. As they themselves say, it’s a bit like a family. They know why they are there. The quality is there, I have top players. When one scores points, it’s not that the other loses points. One can start, the other can come in. It is their merit too. There is internal emulation. They know they are having fun together. When you don’t have the ball, they work to get it. When you have the ball, there is enough talent to create dangers for the opponent. The foundation is the state of mind and what you put into it, even if it doesn’t win every game. When we don’t have that, we are called to order. But we are there, the players are there.
What conclusions do you draw from the gathering of Marcus Thuram?
It’s never obvious when you come the first time. He showed what he is capable of doing, his ability to strike, on the first goal, we saw his series of dribbles. It’s good for a first gathering. You always have to take advantage of it and it did.
What do you remember from your various tactical changes?
Nothing displeased me. We were on the classic with this system (the 4-4-2). We have benchmarks in that one. We control it, it is the most rational. We have other options that I can use later. Everything will depend on what we have in front of you.
Paul Pogba he reassured on his ability at the highest level despite a low playing time in Manchester?
The first served him. What he did in Portugal proves it. I know him, I know how he works. He has pride and above all talent. He is a top level player. Hope it helps him when he joins his club.
Did his non-tenure in Portugal stung Olivier Giroud, who became the Blues’ top scorer at the Stade de France?
No. It doesn’t work like that with Olivier. He knew, I’m talking to him. We cannot question what he has done, what he is capable of doing and what he will still do, I hope. He’s still competitive. He comes with a physical deficit. The first match served him. He sets two beautiful goals. We are not talking about a player who has done nothing until then. We are often too unfair to him.
Is the list of 23 clear in your head and Marcus Thuram is shaking up your plans?
No, if I take it, it is because I am convinced that it has a role to play. Much of the list, yes. If there are no physical concerns, they will be there. After that, these are different options. Marcus is one of them.
Did Kylian Mbappé meet your expectations on his big half hour of play?
Everything went well. He will return to his club, available, fresh. I have the impression that we believe that the France team does not know how to prepare it. We did things gradually in relation to his feelings. He regained the pleasure of playing. It’s good that he was able to play. He wanted it. The medical staff and the trainer Cyril Moine have done a lot of work to make it operational.