Pogba’s game not about the goals: Deschamps

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

France coach Di­dier Deschamps in­sists there is an aw­ful lot more to Paul Pogba’s game af­ter the Manchester United star found the net again in his coun­try’s 2-1 win over Swe­den on Fri­day.

The world’s most ex­pen­sive player headed in France’s equaliser be­fore Dim­itri Payet got the win­ning goal in the World Cup qual­i­fier at the Stade de France on Fri­day.

It was Pogba’s eighth goal for his coun­try and fol­lowed his win­ner in the 1-0 vic­tory away to the Nether­lands last month. The 23-year-old also scored a su­perb vol­ley in United’s 3-1 win at Swansea City in the English Premier League last week­end but Deschamps said: “He is not a goal-scorer. He can score goals and has done so but I don’t espe­cially ex­pect him to do that.

“All the bet­ter that he did so to­day but I am much more happy with his over­all per­for­mance which fol­lowed on from what he did in the Nether­lands.

“For Manchester he is used in a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion in a dif­fer­ent sys­tem. He gave us a lot of flu­id­ity with the ball and was good at win­ning pos­ses­sion back,” Deschamps added.

“When Paul is play­ing like that and has a good part­ner­ship with Blaise Ma­tu­idi it is im­por­tant for the team. If he scores, all the bet­ter. I know he likes scor­ing but it is not what I or the team ex­pect from him.” France are three points clear of Swe­den at the top of Group A four games into Euro­pean qual­i­fy­ing for the 2018 World Cup thanks to Payet’s 65th-minute win­ner.

There was a touch of con­tro­versy about the goal, how­ever, as An­toine Griez­mann was in an off­side po­si­tion in the build-up. The striker’s pres­ence then led to goal­keeper Robin Olsen fum­bling a cross, al­low­ing Payet to score.

“Swe­den de­served a bet­ter result. It is a bit of a shame be­cause the sec­ond goal was off­side, but these things hap­pen in sport,” lamented vis­it­ing coach Janne An­der­s­son, whose team had gone in front through a su­perb Emil Fors­berg free-kick at the start of the sec­ond half.

Deschamps re­sponded: “I saw that he was slightly off­side. His tibia was off­side. It wasn’t given, and all the bet­ter for us.

“But there was also a cross and an er­ror that led to the goal. It could have been given. There wasn’t much in it and it went in our favour. I un­der­stand the anger and dis­ap­point­ment of my Swedish col­league.”

The game was played al­most ex­actly a year on from the ter­ror at­tacks that struck Paris on Fri­day Novem­ber 13, 2015. A to­tal of 130 peo­ple were killed in the at­tacks, in­clud­ing one man when three sui­cide bombers blew them­selves up out­side the Stade de France while France were play­ing Ger­many in a friendly. A minute’s silence was held for the vic­tims to mark the an­niver­sary be­fore the Swe­den game, while France’s pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande was in at­ten­dance. “Time goes on but no­body will for­get, or can for­get, what happened,” said Deschamps.

“We need to go on but it is im­por­tant to show our sol­i­dar­ity to the vic­tims, their fam­i­lies and ev­ery­one who was so deeply af­fected a year ago now.” —AFP

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