Speaking to L’Équipe in the wake of his clean sheet in France’s defeat of The Netherlands on Friday night, Mike Maignan pointed out the importance of claiming a win in the team’s first fixture since losing the World Cup final three months ago.
The Milan goalkeeper, in what was his first outing as Les Bleus’ official number one, cut an assured figure throughout the game as the Dutch struggled to create many clear-cut chances, and even parried a late penalty from Memphis Depay to cap off a perfect all-round performance from Didier Deschamps’ men.
The former Lille man first denied that he was now the “undisputed” starter – “We’ll leave that aside for now”, before explaining that the team were aiming for a victory in front of their home crowd in order to ease the pain of the defeat to Argentina.
Maignan then highlighted that his penalty showdown against the Atlético Madrid man was a “psychological battle”:
“I wanted to take up as much space as possible. It was the end of the game and the team had worked hard. I hadn’t touched the ball a lot and we deserved to go home with a clean sheet.”
A rejuvenated French team fly out to Dublin on Sunday for the second of the double header to kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, against Ireland on Monday night.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin