‘We took a good slap’: France boss Didier Deschamps admits shock defeat to Finland was a wake up call and accuses Les Bleus of lacking ‘commitment’ as he credits away side for playing ‘more than a friendly’
- France were stunned by Finland in a 2-0 friendly defeat on Wednesday night
- Les Bleus fielded an experimental side with Antoine Griezmann on the bench
- Didier Deschamps said his team ‘took a good slap’ and were well below par
- But he praised the visitors for their display as they ‘played more than a friendly’
France boss Didier Deschamps has admitted his team ‘took a slap’ after they suffered a shock defeat at home to Finland.
Les Bleus were second best in their friendly at the Stade de France with the visitors going ahead through Marcus Forss before Onni Simonpoika Valakari doubled their lead in the first half.
The 2018 World Cup winners fielded a somewhat experimental side, with Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann and N’Golo Kante left on the bench, with the likes of Marcus Thuram, Steven N’Zonzi and Leo Dubois given a chance to impress, but the home side were well below par.
France boss Didier Deschamps said his players ‘took a slap’ after being stunned by Finland
The unfancied visitors went two goals ahead in the first half as they pulled off a shock win
Deschamps said it was a reality check for his players, conceding the performance was ‘below what I expected’ and accusing the team of lacking ‘commitment’.
‘We were below what I expected,’ he said after the game. ‘Everything that is generosity, commitment, duels… they put together what was needed. For us, not enough, even if that did not prevent us from having a good start to the match.
‘We [concede] avoidable goals as often. Certainly we had a lot of the ball, without creating a lot of chances. The second half, I think it was better. But when you start with such a handicap… unfortunately that’s how it is. It’s the reality of the high level.
Deschamps said France were ‘below what I expected’ and that they lacked commitment
Antoine Griezmann came on as a substitute but could not turn things around for the home side
‘I have used the term “booster shot” with the players. We took a good slap. I’m not going to dwell on it too much. The result is logical. We took a good lesson. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba started the game but was not able to inspire the team to victory as he was hauled off after 57 minutes.
France did start brightly in the game as Premier League stars Moussa Sissoko, Lucas Digne, Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud were picked to play, but two goals in three first half minutes from the visitors left them stunned.
Deshamps said it was ‘not a good night’ and said Finland deserved credit for playing ‘more than a friendly’, adding that he did not want to offer ‘excuses’ for the defeat.
Manchester United star Paul Pogba was given a start as he struggled to give France creativity
‘It happens. It was not a good night against a team that played more than a friendly match. We did not win today by not putting in what was needed. I prefer not to look for another explanation that might pass for excuses.
France will have a chance to put their poor result behind them when they travel to Portugal for a crucial Nations League clash on Saturday.
Deschamps said the players will relish the challenge against a team ‘whose strength we know’, saying it was ‘essential’ to put in a much improved display. France suffered defeat to the Portuguese side in the Euro 2016 final.
‘We will go there with other arguments than what we put in this evening,’ he said. ‘It’s essential. When we chain matches every three days, we don’t have time to fall asleep.’
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