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France – Serbia Preview: Deschamps eyes winning run

Didier Deschamps is hoping France’s victory over Portugal will kick-start a winning-run in the build-up to Euro 2016 as they prepare to take on Serbia in another friendly on Monday.

Euro 2016 hosts France sealed a 1-0 win in Lisbon on Friday thanks to Mathieu Valbuena’s 85th-minute free kick, and they welcome Serbia to Bordeaux on Monday.

Deschamps’ side lost back-to-back friendlies against Albania and Belgium in June, but the 1998 World Cup-winning captain believes they are now back on track.

“Victory is always the best cure for losses, but I had not been worried about the defeats to Albania and Belgium,” said Deschamps.

“I was dissatisfied. Beyond that, there is a mind-set and we had to regain our defensive solidity.

“To attack, we must defend well and find the right balance. You cannot have everything, but we showed we are capable against Portugal and we have to do the same in every game now.”

One negative for France from the trip to Lisbon was the serious knee injury picked up by Lyon star Nabil Fekir, who is expected to be sidelined for at least six months.

Deschamps was left to rue the setback for the 22-year-old, but he also found time to praise the contribution of Paul Pogba.

“This is a great sadness for Nabil, his club and for us. It takes time to come back,” he added.

“We saw some really good things from Paul Pogba. He was wasteful sometimes but he played right on the axis of the triangle and linked well with Yohan [Cabaye] and Blaise Matuidi.

“We created four clear chances, and Pogba was the creator. Unfortunately we could not see Nabil [Fekir] and Karim [Benzema] a long time together.

“Antoine Griezmann had not had long to warm up, but we saw some interesting things when he came on, but we can do better.”

Serbia, who are unable to qualify for Euro 2016, secured their first win in Group I with a 2-0 home victory over Armenia on Friday, with manager Radovan Curcic looking to develop his young squad ahead of the World Cup 2018 qualification campaign.

“The team showed desire to play forward with speed and penetration,” he said.

“Certainly this is not all the team can offer, but in front of us is the time to create a new team and better results.”

Sat 5 Sep, 2015
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