Euro 2024: “Despite his age, his experience, Olivier Giroud still has this flame in him”, appreciates coach Didier Deschamps

Euro 2024: “Despite his age, his experience, Olivier Giroud still has this flame in him”, appreciates coach Didier Deschamps

Didier Deschamps va disputer son troisième Euro en tant que sélectionneur après 2016 et 2021. MAXPPP – CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

If Didier Deschamps considers "logical" that the French team is one of the favorites for Euro-2024, he warns that it has fallen "in a tough group". The coach also raises the possibility of taking Bradley Barcola to Germany.

Defeat in the final in 2016, elimination from the 8th in 2021: you remain on two failures at the Euro. Is there a desire for revenge with this competition, the only one that escapes you as a coach ?

I would rather talk about underperformance. It’s true, I didn’t win the Euro as a coach, but a lot of coaches haven’t won it. If the requirement is so high, it is because the French team has made a lot of progress…hellip; After the World Cup, there is nothing bigger than the Euro.

We will approach the next one with ambition but also lucidity. I am well aware that with everything we have done, the expectation is growing. But experience also reminds us that in a competition, there are stages to take.

That we are among the favorites, like other teams, after all, there is a certain logic. But we must not think about the finish, we must already think about the three group matches and hope not to be faced with injuries even if there are always imponderables that we will have to manage.

I would like, like all my colleagues, for everyone to be available and in full possession of their means, but this is already not the case. We'll have to make do.

How do you judge your three opponents from Group D ?

I'm going to go against what has been said here and there. We are in a tough group. We talked about training gallops. But Austria is a very strong team, they recently beat Germany. Austrians are undervalued.

The Netherlands remains a great footballing nation. When we beat it 4-0 in March 2023, it was diminished, deprived of several major players.

Poland is strong collectively and relies on individuals like Lewandowski. I repeat, you have to think about each of the steps to take. The first is to pass this first round. Like other nations, we have the potential to perhaps go all the way, but we should not already think about a semi-final or a possible final.

The Euro is very tough, eight of the top ten in the Fifa rankings are in the Euro, there is an enormous density.

Also read: Euro 2024: "They have a very balanced group”, for Philipp Lahm, France will be favorite this summer

You will not have some of your players until June 3. Does this pose a problem for the preparation of the Euro ?

The official date set by Fifa for clubs to release players is June 3. I plan to pick up the first players on May 29. Depending on the end of the season and the Champions League final, I may only have half the group available. Especially since some clubs have scheduled tours very, very far away (like AC Milan in Australia).

Until the 2018 World Cup, we could offer recovery to tired players during the first part of the training course, and carry out athletic work. Since then, these are no longer preparation periods. This time, for example, we have the obligation, due to the contracts signed by UEFA with the broadcasters, to play two friendly matches. Otherwise I would have only programmed one. We will recover the players as they will be on an athletic level, on a psychological level too.

If some are in the Champions League final, winners or losers, we will have to switch again. We get to the point. The most important factor is freshness. I repeat, I adapt. And to adapt as best as possible to a situation, I try to anticipate all scenarios.

Also read: Euro 2024: 470,000 euros bonus for each French player in the event of a final victory in Germany

The young Bradley Barcola had a cannonball end to the season. In March, you explained that you had selected Moussa Diaby instead for his seniority and his experience with the group. You could take Barcola at the Euro even if it never came?

But of course. Please note, I am not saying that I will take it. But it's not because I'm not used to calling players in the final phase that I haven't picked up before that I'm going to leave deprive.

I don't work with these types of rules. I am not conservative and I do not make choices by wondering what people will think. If I feel that I have to do differently in the interest of the France team, I do differently. Each situation has its answers.

In March, Moussa Diaby was present. He had been with us before and was doing some interesting things with Aston Villa. This was also the case for Bradley with PSG but it was more recent and required confirmation.

Since March, he has confirmed his good intentions. But we don't discover it either. With Guy (Stephan his deputy), we have followed him closely since his debut at the highest level with Lyon.

Also read: Football: agreement reached between ex-Montpellier Oliver Giroud and Los Angeles FC for an arrival this summer

What do you think of Olivier Giroud signing for Los Angeles FC, the Euro will probably be his last competition…

Ah yes, I think so (smile)! Olivier made a sporting choice and a lifestyle choice. Despite his age, his experience, he still has this flame within him. It’s perhaps also an opportunity, beyond finding Hugo (Lloris) and his family.

He wants to continue his career, but with slightly lower demands than in Europe. But that doesn't change my choices immediately since he is at AC Milan until the end of the season.

Does this change his status in the French team ?

Olivier has experience, life, but he is subject to competition like all the other players. This is not what will make him "win points" or "lose", as some say.

We feel more zen in the face of criticism than a few years ago, this dates from Euro 2016 and the tags on your residence  ?

Yes, that's one of the items. I said at the time that the general climate was violent. Since then, the aggression has increased, on social networks, but also in the media. I respect everyone and I expect a minimum of respect in return, especially with regard to my private sphere.

For the rest, I have no problem with criticism as long as it concerns my role as coach, my choices. They exist and can be more or less virulent, they have no influence on me or my decisions. It’s not a shell.

Between gatherings, I am interested in the media, I read. But in competition, debates, analyses, I don’t listen, I cut myself off from everything. Unless something important concerns the French team or one of my players.

This operation suits me. It gives me great tranquility, great serenity. I'm used to pressure, but the environment has no influence on me.

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