Didier Deschamps has explained his reasons for leaving out Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann for France's second group game of their Euro 2016 campaign against Albania.
The Juventus and Atletico Madrid stars went into this summer's tournament as the players tipped to make the difference in the competition. Both had set their respective leagues alight over the last two seasons and many expected their fine form to be carried over to the international stage.
But neither were impressive against Romania, in which a late wonder goal from Dimitri Payet was needed to secure all three points. It gave Deschamps reason to consider a new formation as the West Ham player had turned the game around after being granted the chance to play in a central No.10 role.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Indeed, France appeared to set up in a 4-2-3-1 system last night, vastly different to the 4-3-3 they played against Romania. And Deschamps has now explained that leaving both Pogba and Griezmann out was purely a tactical decision.
"Leaving out Paul Pogba was a tactical decision when we looked at their starting line-up," explained Deschamps, as per Goal. "With their system, we needed two scrappers in the middle of the park. Paul Pogba has different attributes."
Deschamps, however, is dealing with megastars here, who are certainly not used to watching the game from the bench. As a result, Deschamps admitted that both players were unhappy about their new roles.
He continued: "With Antoine Griezmann - I know he's not happy, nor is Paul Pogba - but he is doing well. He [Griezmann] played 60 minutes of the first match and I know he's very good at coming off the bench.
"He played for half an hour tonight and made the difference even though I know he would rather have started the game. Often the players that come off the bench can make the difference. So if someone is not up to their usual level I have the option to go to the bench to make the difference."
But while the tactics may have been different in their second group game, the result was still very much the same. The first half was a disjointed performance and it was only after Pogba was introduced at half-time that France really started to trouble Albania's defence.
Once Girezmann has come on in the 68th minute, it seemed only a matter of time before France broke through. Fans may have had to wait for the 90th minute to get the goal but they all count.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms