France boss Didier Deschamps spoke to reporters at the French national team training base at Clairefontaine in the middle of a crucial week of pre-EURO 2016 training.
Why have you announced the injury of Raphaël Varane so early and why have you chosen Adil Rami?
In terms of Varane, he was injured in training and was examined, during which it was confirmed that he would be out for quite a long time. Following that and the confirmation of our own examinations, I made the decision not to keep him. We start the competition on the 10th and it is a cruel blow to lose Raphael but we have to think about the group and our important deadlines.
I thought first of our first three matches. Adil was not on our reserve list but he was still in competitions with his club. It is overwhelmingly a technical problem and the association of a centre back pairing of the left-footed and the right-footed.
To have central defenders with four left-footed players, that certainly limits the amount of pairings we can do. To have two left-footed players at the highest level, it is not viable for me. I spoke with Samuel, and I explained the situation to him. It is not a lack of confidence in him, it is a complicated situation.
Why Adil Rami and did you have a discussion with him about what he said last week on RMC?
Of course I had a discussions with him. There was only one thing that annoyed me, it was when he said I advised him to go to Sevilla instead of Lyon. That’s not true. The last time that he came here was during the South America circuit and he was in the best period of his career. Today, he is sharp and is having a very good season with his club. He also has international experience because he has played 25 matches with the French national team…
Are you worried about the number of injuries that you have picked up?
No, it is overwhelmingly annoying because Raphaël is the player who has played the most since the World Cup. I do not want to be worried either, I believe in my squad. I need to find the best possible solution for myself and the team.
Benzema, Valbuena, Sakho, Varane… do you not feel like you have bad luck?
It is like that, even if things went well, there are a lot of players who are missing EURO 2016, not only in France. Jérémy Mathieu is also affected. He played 75 minutes in the Spanish Cup, he felt a pain in his calf, but it is not bad.
He won’t be available for the first match at Nantes but I hope to know a bit more at the end of the week. We are not worried about him for the Euros.
Do you regret not having tested other players more in defence?
You reproach me enough for changing players… Raphaël is a player who I wanted to depend on. We find ourselves in a difficult situation in terms of the heart of the defence, but I am adapting myself.
Do you think that France is still competitive?
Yes, we have to keep our ambitions with where we are right now. We must not be feeling low and start the competition by looking for excuses. I am counting on the players in place. We must not revaluate our ambitions. The hierarchy at the centre of the defence will evolve, I still have time to decide.