"We could have scored more," said France midfielder Yann M'Vila after his side squandered chances to take a greater lead than 1-0 into Tuesday's play-off second leg against Norway.
France midfielder Yann M'Vila acknowledged Les Bleuets "could have scored more" in their 1-0 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off first-leg win against Norway. Eric Mombaerts' men were unable to add to Raphaël Varane's 22nd-minute header in Le Havre, but M'Vila said the victory was a good result nonetheless.
His sentiments were echoed by team-mate Ali Ahamada, who told UEFA.com the squad would find solutions for Tuesday's decider in Drammen. Norway defender Thomas Rogne conceded his country's approach had been a touch cautious, though forward Jo Inge Berget admitted Per Joar Hansen's side "would have taken 1-0 before kick-off".
Yann M'Vila, France midfielder
The aim of the evening was not to concede and to be solid defensively. That is what we managed to do, and we scored, even if we could have scored more. It is a good result. We have to continue in the same vein and – above all – not concede over there.
We had watched them and knew that they were going to press us high up the pitch. It was up to us to try and push a bit further up the field, but we could not play our game from the start. After the goal, we played with more freedom. I saw a lot of the ball and my team-mates got into good positions so I could pick them out. The team counts a lot on the No6 because all the play goes through that position, and I did not do too badly tonight.
Ali Ahamada, France goalkeeper
The main objective was to win to be in a good position for the second leg. It would have been preferable to have scored more, but we are going to have to be happy with this slender victory. It means that we start next week with an advantage. We were up against a good side tonight and they caused us quite a lot of problems. They were well organised and played on the counterattack.
It was tough for us to create attacking situations because they maintained their shape. We are going to ask ourselves the right questions to find out why we were not able to dominate this match quite as we would have liked. Having said that, the victory means that we have the upper hand and it is going to help us prepare well for the second leg.
Thomas Rogne, Norway defender
It was quite a tough game. We knew they were going to dominate possession, they did that. They are a good team, they keep the ball well, they pass it well, and when we won the ball, we were too far away from their goal. We did not create as many chances as we would have liked, but we think we will play better at home.
Perhaps we were too cautious in the first half. I don't know whether we were nervous or not, but in the first half things were a bit tighter. They were aggressive and pressed us high up the pitch, which made it difficult for us to play our own game. It opened up a bit in the second half. They got tired and so did we. We kept possession better in the second half and we played ourselves into some good positions, but were a little bit sloppy in the final third. Hopefully in Norway we can be a bit more effective.
Jo Inge Berget, Norway forward
We would have taken 1-0 before kick-off. We could have got a better result, but overall we will take it. We tried to go out and press them high, but we were perhaps a little worried – we wanted to see how good they really are. After that we got into it, played our game and were perhaps unlucky not to have got a goal.
At half-time, we all came back in saying to ourselves, 'They are not that good, we can beat this team. We are good players, too'. We went out in the second half with a little more belief in ourselves. We created some chances, not big ones, but there are things we can take from that for the second game.