Current coach of the French women’s team, in office for 10 years now, Didier Deschamps is the exceptional guest of Europe 1 Sport. After starting his League of Nations campaign, he answered questions this Friday from journalist and editorialist Jacques Vendroux and Cyrille de la Morinerie. An interview to be found in full in Europe 1 Sport, presented by Jean-François Pérès.
While the French team started the League of Nations in the wrong way with a defeat against Denmark (1-2) on Friday, Didier Deschamps, coach and emblematic figure of the Blues, gave an exclusive interview to Europe 1. six months of the World Cup in Qatar, the 53-year-old former captain looks back on the incidents at the Stade de France a week ago, on his responsibilities as coach, on his choices today, the competition in the French team, but also on Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappé and Olivier Giroud.
On the incidents at the Stade de France: “An image far from positive”
“I don’t have all the elements. I’m not going to say it’s the fault of one or the other. The only thing I can say about my position as a manager and a football lover, it’s that these are things that are regrettable. The importance of this event gives an image throughout the world that is far from positive. Afterwards, everyone has their power of decision. It should not have happened, “It happened. It’s very regrettable. These are things that we don’t want because football is singled out. It can happen in other sports venues too.
For various reasons, it never makes me happy when I see such images. Unfortunately, sports arenas and football, which is the most popular sport, are places today where people come to pour out a little too much hatred and aggressiveness. There are things to improve, even if it is not obvious. I am not in the place of the clubs, which have their responsibility. Having things like that happen less at first, happen a lot less and don’t happen anymore, that would be ideal.”
On his role as coach: “I need that adrenaline”
“I feel very good in this function, obviously. It’s been almost ten years, I changed. I know a lot more things and I have more the measure of the function of coach, whether it’s when I’m with the players and outside too. I’ve always said it, it’s linked to the results because if I hadn’t had the results, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m fulfilled and I always have been , even if there weren’t just easy or pleasant moments. There were more pleasant ones than unpleasant ones. But I like it, I repeat, I’m fulfilled in this job as coach because it’s the very high level and I’ve always been used to that. I need that and that adrenaline.”
What he likes about this function: “It’s the most beautiful thing for me”
“It’s the very essence of what makes sport, that is to say it’s the very high level with the demands that go with it. I had the privilege of knowing that in my first life as a player too. But in football, there is nothing that can be stronger, more important, than a title of world champion or European champion. Even if the other competitions that you win in club are important But to represent your country, what this blue, white and red jersey represents for me, to wear it for ten years as a player and there as a coach, to be at the service of the France team, professionally, it is the most beautiful thing for me.”
The Ballon d’Or for Karim Benzema? “He is definitely the big favourite”
“It’s not you who will decide, nor me, but he did everything to get it. And this title of European champion with Real Madrid… He was so decisive during the season. deserved before this title. He is certainly the big favorite to have this individual award.”
On Kylian Mbappé’s decision to stay at PSG: “It’s better to have Kylian who remains a link at all levels”
“If he made that choice, it’s because he thinks it’s the best choice for him. What I can say afterwards, compared to France and French football, it’s better to “Having Kylian who remains a link at all levels. Also compared to the eyes of foreigners, Kylian’s presence highlights our national championship even more.”
On Olivier Giroud: “He knows the situation”
“He knows the situation. We have already exchanged several times. I have already expressed myself in relation to him and the objective that I have with the players who are there on this rally. But I know that he is very attached to the France team and that he is always available. Each time, I have choices to make in relation to a group. But I am well aware, and that is what makes my choices even more difficult , that those who are not in the 24 players that I have selected, there are some who could be there or who will be there at the next rally or in the list for the World Cup.
On the difficulty of the choices: “You can’t mix the sentimental and the professional”
“You cannot mix the sentimental and the professional. It never goes well together. I am convinced of that. But beyond that, these are my choices and I assume them. But these are not choices that I make in relation to me. These are choices that I have always made, that I will always make for the good of the team. The France team does not belong to me, I am at its service, I am here to ensure that it is as efficient as possible.As always, there are those who will have preferences, it is always an eternal debate.
I’m not here to justify myself, I can more or less argue and I don’t want to say certain things. We are very much in the interpretation. Nobody can be in possession of the elements I have outside, but everyone can get an idea, interpret. The risk is to jump to hasty conclusions. The truth of today, it is that of today, that of tomorrow, I do not know it. If anyone knows her, I’m a taker.”
On the Nations League: “Better to have a competition than friendly matches”
“It’s the penultimate meeting since we won’t have a meeting in October and we won’t have any preparation since the players will stop a week before the start of the World Cup. Usually , it was two matches per meeting, we pushed up to three but there, we have four which are very close in a period which is never obvious since it is the period when the players are supposed to be on vacation There are also differences in athletic level because some players have stopped for a few weeks, others a week or a fortnight ago. But when you are aiming to prepare for the World Cup , it’s better to have a competition than friendly matches.”
On the competition between Lloris and Maignan: “Hugo is number one, it’s up to him to do everything to stay that way
“I’m not going to complain. At the goalkeeper level, there is a lot of quality and Mike is having a very good season. The important thing is that things are clear internally, even if preparing, anticipating, It’s my duty. Hugo, he maintains his level of performance with his club Tottenham and in the France team, he is also captain and it is a role that he fully assumes, he is part of the executives, the leaders. He may not be very expressive, but when there is something to say, he says it.I discuss a lot with him, as with the older ones too, to get his feelings.
The competition is there, it is getting stronger for many players, but so much the better, it also forces the oldest, the most experienced not to fall asleep. When I have to make decisions, to make choices, everything will depend on the level they show, and what the youngest will be able to do. There will be the possibility, on this rally, to divide the playing time also between Hugo and Mike of course. Hugo is the number one goalkeeper of the France team, it’s up to him to do everything to stay that way.”
On the centenary of Rowing Bayonnais: “A special attachment”
“It was there that I took my first license. This passion for football, to have been well surrounded, it is my hometown too, I have my whole family. I have a particular attachment for a sports club because it’s not just football. It’s still rugby which is somewhat the major sport locally. 100 years is a symbolic number. I like the number 100, so It’s going to be a pleasure for me. It’s at home, close to my family, what this club represents and what it allowed me to do at the start of my career.”