Speaking in a rare interview with French newspaper L’Équipe, Mauricio Pochettino spoke at length about France and their EURO 2016 chances. Highlights.
On Dimitri Payet:
I have known about him since his time at St Étienne. I then spoke a lot about him with Marcelo Bielsa when they were both at Marseille. When he arrived in England, his success surprised a lot of people, because he rapidly became talked about in the bracket with the best players in the Premier League.
He is reproducing, today, the same performances with France and he is one of the best players at the Euros.
On France’s performances so far:
They are clearly one of the favourites. In terms of the quality of their individuals, because they are playing at home, because they have a great manager and because the sum of all those talents makes a great team… It is not easy for any team. The matches are tight for everyone.
I think that to be the country that organises the tournament adds a bit of pressure. And that is also motivational, especially for those who want to beat France at home. But, despite that, they managed to win two games and finish 1st. They have options to come from the bench and these players seem to be capable of adapting to different systems. I am convinced that they have the quality to win the tournament.
On Hugo Lloris:
He is at the summit of his career. He is one of the top three goalkeepers in the world. He is much more aware of his qualities than before. He is capable of helping the team defensively, of course, but, there is more, he takes care of things going forward too. In our style of play, it is his responsibility to start moves off.