Thomas Lemar salvaged a point for France against Georgia in their second match in UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group A, and then took time out to speak to UEFA.com about fortune, zoos and his tunnel vision.
UEFA.com: A second draw after six wins from six in qualifying. What is not working for France in Slovenia?
Thomas Lemar: The level of the team is the same, we are creating chances and playing well, but we have not been lucky at all and we have not been clinical in front of goal. However, our motivation and potential have not changed. The first half against Georgia was hard and was made harder by the penalty, but that gave us more motivation to improve and we got a goal. In the end, it was not a good score for the French team, but that is football sometimes.
UEFA.com: The Georgia result did not go in your favour, but can you tell us about your excellent equaliser?
Lemar: I think I have a good left foot so I practise shooting in training, but I recognise that there was a little fortune involved with this one! I did not have time to think such about it, the ball just arrived and I hit it straight away. It was spontaneous. I was delighted after I scored, but then we did not get the win – I would rather have had the victory and not scored.
UEFA.com Can you rectify your mistakes against Germany, the strongest team in the group?
Lemar: It will be difficult. We must win and we can, but only if the team takes it seriously. It is not the same challenge as Iceland and Georgia – Germany are a big team. I think that the defence will be more focused against them, and the whole team will be motivated to get a victory.
UEFA.com: How are France relaxing before such a high-pressure game?
Lemar: We are staying positive; spirits are high. We have a teacher in the group who takes our minds off the matches and helps to maintain a good atmosphere. We have been into the beautiful city of Ljubljana and we have also visited the zoo, which we enjoyed. It is good to focus not only on football.
UEFA.com: Being here in Slovenia, do you now feel like you are starting a career in professional football? What is next for Thomas Lemar?
Lemar: Of course we all want to sign professional contracts but first I want to continue to progress. At my club I play with the Under-19s and it is good because the games are faster and more physical, so it helps you speed up your development. Being here you can't help but be excited about the future a little bit. But I must stress the priority is this tournament and for the moment I am not thinking about next season, the next championship or my possible career, just doing well with France now. The present is all that matters.
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