Riberiao Preto Press Conference 5: Game 3 Preparation

After impressing football fans the world over with a rampant and fully-deserved 5-2 victory over Switzerland on Friday evening, France coach Didier Deschamps was on-hand earlier today to give his take on Les Bleus’ win.

While Deschamps was keen to emphasise the importance of remaining grounded ahead of France’s final group game against Ecuador, his overall demeanour reflected the growing sense of excitement surrounding this side and he even allowed a couple of jokes to slip into his answers.

Didier Deschamps:

On the Switzerland result: ‘I’m feeling very good today even though I didn’t get too much sleep. There’s a certain effervescence about this France side and I don’t want it to end.’

‘Even in my wildest dreams I didn’t imagine leading 5-0 against Switzerland, the players fully deserve it. Before the match I told them that we can’t win all of our games 3-0… Perhaps it would’ve been better if I kept my mouth shut.’

‘In every match there’s a real intensity and Switzerland left a lot of space to exploit.’

‘It’s not a relief when we score, it’s pure pleasure.’

‘There’s always a level of adrenaline flowing at the start of the match and we hesitated a bit when playing balls forward to start with.’

‘We prepared for the best and pretty much everything went well. All of the players are proud to be French but our objectives aren’t any easier.’

‘The wall came apart on the first goal we conceded and both of their goals could have been avoided, especially the second one.’

On looking ahead in the competition: ‘We’re not through just yet, we need to guarantee our place in our third match. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.’

‘We’re still physically fresh and our five-day break means we have time to recover.’

On staying grounded: ‘When things are going well you can’t get carried away and when things are going wrong it’s never as bad as it seems. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves.’

‘The players are obviously happy and satisfied but they’re also as humble and grounded as they should be.’

‘We can’t just ramp ourselves up, everyone has to be ready at any given moment.’

On the strength of this France side: ‘We have a number of different playing styles adapted to the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents.’

‘There hasn’t been a single training session when a player has been dragging his feet, they all have a collective aim and it’s great to see.’

 ‘The competition for places is making this group even better, especially up front. We have an attacking identity that fits our strikers – everyone is a part of it.’

‘When the midfielders see the strikers working hard, it’s contagious.’

‘I’m not sure what my place is in the success. I’m not going to say that I have no importance at all but the key figures are the players. The important thing is to create a trusting relationship with them.’

On the determination of the subs: ‘When we start a match there are twelve players who aren’t happy and that’s a good thing.’

On Benzema’s goal after the final whistle: ‘I would’ve liked Karim to have scored it but the referee did blow for full-time a second before [it went in]. It’s all by the by now.’

On Varane’s assured performance: ‘Raphael is just like that. There are players in their thirties that don’t have the maturity that he has. He’s a rare gem who knows how to defend well and is equally comfortable with the ball at his feet.’

On sending out a message to other teams: ‘I don’t know if we sent out a message. We’ve been ready since day one and you’ve got to keep that going.’

On Valbuena: ‘Mathieu had a slightly uncharacteristic game but he took his game up a notch and was more determined than anyone else on the pitch. He loves the game and when things aren’t going well he’ll make sure to work hard. He’s matured and become more effective.’

On Pogba: ‘Pogba not starting wasn’t a punishment, it was a choice based on the good form that Moussa [Sissoko] was showing.’

‘Paul has huge potential, I keep telling him. However, the reality at the top level is that he needs to be working flat out.’

On Matuidi: ‘Blaise ran back [to the training camp], he didn’t want to get the plane.’ [laughs]

‘He has undoubted physical qualities – an intensity to his game… Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with him.’

‘I was teasing Blaise about his shooting and then he went and scored…’

On his team selections: ‘I’m not going to start eleven guys who have never played together before. There’s always the worry of players with a yellow card to their name too.’

On his team talks: ‘Players have a limited attention span so I don’t give epic speeches.’

On South American sides: ‘When a World Cup is held in South America, the sides from there are always very effective because they’re used to the temperature.’

‘South American sides are often built around two central strikers, which is rare in Europe.’

On the fans’ reaction: ‘We’re always communicating, I’ve never seen a team that gets results and isn’t well-liked.’

On Evra’s press conference: ‘Evra gave the conference at a good time for you. His natural disposition can quickly get the better of him if that’s what you’re trying to get from him.’

On life in Ribeirao Preto: ‘We have a decent training base here, the setting is nice and I give the players their own free time.’

‘We’re certainly not cut off from the world in our own isolated bunker, you need to be in contact with reality.’


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