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Deschamps dismisses Pogba concerns

Didier Deschamps was giving little away regarding his team selection ahead of France’s clash with Albania in Marseille on Wednesday and dismissed questions relating to Paul Pogba’s inconsistent displays for Les Bleus.

Pogba has developed into one of European football’s best midfielders at Juventus, helping the Bianconeri to Scudetto success in each of his four years in Turin.

He has failed to replicate that dynamic club form on a regular basis for France, though.

Asked why, Deschamps said: “He doesn’t have the same shirt on. He’s not playing in the same formation. Juventus play with three centre-backs but that hasn’t prevented Paul from playing good games with us.

“He’s played some less impressive games but I am not asking myself how to use him in a similar fashion to how he is used by Juventus.

“He has also shown he can perform for the French national team.”

Deschamps gave a curt “you’ll find out tomorrow night” to questions regarding his line-up following reports both Pogba and Antoine Griezmann would be dropped.

It seems likely Dimitri Payet – the matchwinner with a spectacular late strike against Romania on Friday – will keep his place, however, with the West Ham playmaker receiving glowing praise from Deschamps.

Les Blues’ boss added: “I think he’s really improved, you can see that from his club performances.

“He’s always been very technically gifted, and now he’s very consistent. He has put in a lot of work to get to this level.

“He deserves the credit for being able to get to the level he is at now. As we saw when he joined up with us in February, he was sure of his playing style. Clearly what he did in the first game has put the spotlight on him and that’s great.”

France produced a patchy performance against Romania at the Stade de France and Deschamps is hoping his players will move the ball quicker in Marseille.

He said: “We’d like to be neater and tidier, get forward quicker from one phase to another. As we saw, Romania pressed us very well and we struggled to find the gaps so the quicker we can shift the ball the better it will be.

“Albania are a very well-organised side as they have an Italian coach [Gianni De Biasi] who has done an excellent job. They defend well but don’t just settle on defence, they break very quickly and work very hard.

“They have good attacking players who can cause sides problems and they created a number of chances in the first game.”

As a former Marseille player and coach, Deschamps was relishing the opportunity to bring his team to the Velodrome.

“There’s a great atmosphere here, the crowd are really fired up and everyone gets very excited. This is a proper football stadium and it will be fiery on Wednesday night as there will also be lots of Albanian fans here.”

Tue 14 Jun, 2016
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