Euro 2016

Rotation policy is Les Bleus' strength, says Deschamps

The French team celebrating substitute Antoine Griezmann's 90th-minute goal, which finally broke Albania's resistance. France regulars Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann both started on the bench against Albania.
The French team celebrating substitute Antoine Griezmann's 90th-minute goal, which finally broke Albania's resistance. PHOTO: REUTERS
The French team celebrating substitute Antoine Griezmann's 90th-minute goal, which finally broke Albania's resistance. France regulars Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann both started on the bench against Albania.
France regulars Paul Pogba (left) and Antoine Griezmann (right) both started on the bench against Albania. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MARSEILLE • Coach Didier Deschamps rang the changes for France, and admitted afterwards that Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann were unhappy about being dropped to the substitutes' bench for their team's 2-0 victory over Albania on Wednesday.

Griezmann came on to tilt the game with a goal in the 90th minute, before Dimitri Payet added a second to send Le Bleus into the last 16.

"I know he is not happy, nor is Paul Pogba," said Deschamps, although he remained adamant his choices were made with the team's progress in mind.

"Paul Pogba was more of a tactical decision. With that system, I thought we needed two real scrappers in the middle of the park. Paul has different attributes.

"As for Griezmann, I am managing him. He is doing well but he had a busy season and we have three games in nine days. He made the difference even though I know he would have preferred to have started the game."

Deschamps has varied his attack in France's two games so far, starting with one set and ending with another, and he sees that as one of the team's strengths.

UNPOPULAR DECISION

Paul Pogba was more of a tactical decision... we needed two real scrappers in the middle of the park. As for Griezmann... he had a busy season and we have three games in nine days.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS, France coach, explaining his benching of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann.

He said: "I have solutions on the bench in order to change the performance.

"In games against a tight defence, you need to wear them down. We kept pushing right to the end."

France are through to the knockout phase and a draw in their final group game against Switzerland would guarantee top spot.

Deschamps wants his team to keep growing, saying: "We have six points, we qualified, we clearly haven't done everything well.

"We were a bit laborious at the start. Scoring late is becoming a habit but, to be honest, I would prefer to break the deadlock a little earlier."

Albania's coach, Giovanni de Biasi, has not given up hope that his team might sneak into the next round with a win in their final group game against Romania.

"If we are able to score the goals we haven't managed against Switzerland and France, we can get the three points that might get us into the second round," he said.

"I am, of course, disappointed to concede a minute before the end. But I told my players to be proud of a terrific performance. We really caused problems for France tonight.

"I will say we have showed we are a proper team who play good football."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2016, with the headline 'Rotation policy is Les Bleus' strength, says Deschamps'. Print Edition | Subscribe