Ribeirao Preto Press Conference 10 – Didier Deschamps

Having guided his side to a 2-0 victory over Nigeria in the World Cup Round of 16 on Monday evening, Didier Deschamps met the press the following morning to give his thoughts on the previous night’s result and his expectations for the huge quarter-final tie against Germany on Friday.


Didier Deschamps:

On reaching the quarter-final: ‘It’s not just another stage of the competition, reaching the quarters changes a lot of things.’

‘We haven’t messed up our World Cup, that’s for sure! I’m proud to have progressed this far, it’s a great feeling.’

‘I’ve always hated losing and the players need this same attitude. You have to give everything you’ve got and never give up.’

‘It’s what you have deep inside you that allows you to turn a situation around.’

‘I’m being realistic. I’m not looking towards 13 July and the final, I’m looking towards Friday. We can’t be arrogant.’

‘It’s always nice to dream and I’m no exception, but I’m being realistic and pragmatic. Friday is what counts.’

On overcoming Nigeria: ‘There wasn’t a moment where it just fell into place. We were expecting a tough match. Nigeria suffered a bit in their group.’

‘We didn’t have to dig too deep in our group games so we always knew that we could end the match strongly.’

‘I didn’t sense any tension yesterday but knockout games change everything. Unconsciously you try to limit the risks you take.

On the refereeing: ‘There have been some decisions against us, I don’t think we’ve been favoured over other sides. Maybe if I was Nigerian I’d say the opposite.’

‘Maybe we’ve had a bit of luck but you have to make your own luck.’

On Evra’s performance against Nigeria: ‘Evra? [Nigeria] created quite a few problems for us down the left so there were a few imbalances.’

‘We had problems down the left when we were defending but it wasn’t just Evra there, Matuidi and Benzema were too.’

On choosing his starting XI: ‘Yes, I had to make some tough choices. The choice of personnel and a collective aim to see this adventure through are both important.’

‘Benzema and Giroud can play together, it just depends on how the match is set up. I can change our attacking line depending on the opposition and how the game is progressing.’

On facing Germany: ‘We’ll have a different set-up against Germany but that won’t change too much for us.’

‘We’re not going to go into Friday’s game as tourists, we’re not letting up yet. The day after a victory you’ve got to take it all in: we’re quarter-finalists now.’

‘Germany are used to playing at this high level and they have experience of this level of competition.’

‘The players didn’t see the Algeria match but it’s going to be playing on loop in their rooms.’

‘We know the German side well. We’re going to do everything we can to inform the players about the German side on both a general and an individual level.’

‘I believe this team will be able to react if we go behind. It can asks questions of you but I don’t have the answer.’

‘Germany have already played twice at 13:00 so they’re more used to it than we are. Saying that, however, they’ve just played extra-time and played four hours after us so they’ll be more tired today.’

‘There’s absolutely no competition between ourselves and Germany in the last six years…’

‘I haven’t seen much of Germany so far. I need some sleep. I didn’t see their Round of 16 tie.’

‘I’m going to try to limit our nerves as much as possible and I want us to attack. The German side definitely have more experience though.’

On Manuel Neuer: ‘Neuer is good with his feet and can play a long way out from his goal, which works well for his team. He’s one of the best ‘keepers in the world.’

On his side’s aggressive play: ‘The less you talk about edginess on our part the better. We’re getting stuck into challenges.’

‘Perhaps we should’ve had a few more cards but other teams should have too. The games are being played at such high intensity.’

‘If you’re just a millisecond late it can cause a bad foul.’

‘My group is capable of playing at high intensity and that’s important, especially given the way the matches have played out here.’

On reviewing the side’s performances: ‘Video is an indispensable tool to use as the players don’t have the same perception of what’s going on when they’re playing in the match.’

On the centre-back pairing: ‘Mamadou [Sakho] will be available by Friday but I’m certainly not disappointed by the fact that Laurent [Koscielny] played well.’

‘The opposition’s attacking line won’t affect my decisions, [Thomas] Müller isn’t 1.70m tall.’

On Benzema playing out wide: ‘You’re not telling me anything new by saying that Karim prefers to play through the middle, I’ve known that for a long time now.’

‘Karim sulking? That’s perhaps your impression but at the end of the game we had more of the ball and more space.’

‘Yes, Karim prefers to play through the centre. It didn’t work [against Nigeria] but that’s not to say that it won’t work on Friday.’

‘Having Karim out on the left when we don’t have the ball doesn’t cause any problems.’

On Diego Maradona labelling Matuidi’s tackle as ‘criminal’: ‘Maradona’s thoughts on Matuidi? No comment.’

On his youthful squad: ‘At this high level we have the exuberance of youth… They understand the importance of a World Cup quarter-final.’

‘Varane and Pogba both play for huge clubs, I’m not worried about their inexperience.’

‘Young players have a way of avoiding worrying. The youngest players here are full of life but they also have quality on the pitch.’

‘Lots of the young players in this group have huge potential. There’s a lot of raw talent for me to work with.’

‘There are players who are already mature at the age of 21 and others who aren’t quite there yet.’

On the penalty defeat to West Germany in the 1982 World Cup: ‘I’m not going to talk to the players about 1982 or ’86, they weren’t born then! We’re not going to approach the Germany match as rugged old soldiers.’

‘I was only born in ’82 myself [laughs]. No, seriously, I was 14 years old in ’82 and that is one of my first memories of the French national team.’

‘The way they went out in ’82 was cruel but we’re not going to talk about revenge, it was 30 years ago.’

‘There was a real sense of emotion in 1982 that rubbed off on the general public.’

On his side’s progress: ‘I’ve certainly had worse statistics during my time in charge of France [laughs] but it’s still a delicate situation.’

‘The goal we conceded against Paraguay did us a lot of good. I discussed what went wrong and made some tactical decisions. I chose different players to defend different zones from set-pieces and we spent 30 minutes on it before the Jamaica game. I became a European champion with a side that had never worked on set-pieces.’

‘This group can certainly improve in terms of how well they link up and in the way that they move in relation to each other.’

‘Attacking cohesion takes longer to develop.’

On the injured players back home: ‘The French football president [Noel Le Graet] invited Franck [Ribery], Clement [Grenier] and Steve [Mandanda] to see the quarter final. It would be great for myself and the rest of the group to see them.’


[PHOTO: Getty Images]

More European Football News