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France coach Didier Deschamps on his longevity, how he has changed and EURO highs and lows – interview

"The most important thing is what's in front of us," says Didier Deschamps as he looks to make history by guiding France to more glory at EURO 2024.

Deschamps on his coaching recipe for success

When it comes to international football, Didier Deschamps has seen it all. The former France midfielder has tasted glory as both a player and a coach for Les Bleus, winning two World Cups (1998 and 2018) and a EURO (2000). However, he has also experienced the agony of defeats in the final of EURO 2016 and the 2022 World Cup.

Now approaching 12 years in charge of the national side, Deschamps explained what continues to motivate him as he seeks further success in Germany.

Every team's EURO 2024 fixtures

On his coaching style

I obviously drew on my past as a player but I had to adapt. It's not the player's role to adapt themselves to me, I am the one who has to adapt to my players. I try to remember what I considered good and positive from my previous coaches while adding my own touch. If I speak to a player and tell him I know how he feels, that's because I may have been in the same situation. On the other hand, the one thing I will never do is refer to myself or compare "me at that time". It's not my life, it's not my story, and the most important thing is the players and the current moment.

Deschamps on 'tough' France group

On how he has changed

With experience, I am less reactive than I may have been at the beginning when I was only coaching for a few years. I am totally impervious to anything that can happen externally through the media, whether it's on TV or in the written press, and that gives me peace of mind. If there is ever pressure on me, it's just adrenaline, and it's only there because we succeeded and managed to win.

The most important thing is what's in front of us. There are new goals, players who change, players who stop working well together. There is only one truth that counts and that truth is on the pitch. The human side of building a balanced group is fragile but exciting. It leads to a lot of reflections and discussions with my technical staff, but I like being alone and choosing. Whenever I make decisions, it is because I think at that moment it's not the best solution for me, but rather the best solution for the good of the French team.

EURO 2000 final highlights: France 2-1 Italy

On EURO pressures

If you take the last EURO as an example, we had a premature exit. When you win, everything is perfect. But when you lose, the details that don't matter always take focus. At a very high international level, winning is very difficult and maintaining it is even more difficult, because only one team wins and then the others don't sleep. What keeps me going is the passion, the desire and the determination. What interests me is always having new objectives.

France's road to Germany: Watch every goal

On the possibility of making history

[On potentially becoming the first man to win the World Cup and the EUROs as both a player and a coach] No, that's not a motivation. The objective is around the French national team in terms of what we've achieved and what we're capable of achieving. There are other nations who start out aiming to win, as is the case in competitions like the Champions League. Each year seven or eight teams have the objective to win it, and only one team can. It's the same here and it doesn't come down to much.

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