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No goals, no worries for Germany's Müller

Goals are "the paint job on my car that make things look good on the outside," said Thomas Müller, happy to trade personal achievement for success with Germany.

Thomas Müller attenda a Germany press conference
Thomas Müller attenda a Germany press conference ©Getty Images

Thomas Müller had not yet even shown up at the press conference he was due to attend before media attention turned to him, reporters asking Germany general manager – and former striker Oliver Bierhoff – how the forward's mood was as his search for a first EURO goal continued.

"Why don't you ask him? He has just arrived," replied Bierhoff as Müller, all smiles, took to the stage. Of course, he knew exactly what people would be asking him. How is it that a man who has claimed ten FIFA World Cup goals has still to find the net at a EURO? Is he losing his cool?

Manuel Neuer sat beside Müller at the conference but received relatively few questions, with the injury-enforced absence of Mario Gomez having further intensified the focus on Müller, likely to lead the line alone for Germany for the rest of the tournament.

Indeed, one of the few questions directed at Neuer was a Müller-related one: "Is Thomas Müller still talking as much in the camp, or is he quieter now he hasn't scored?"

Müller not worried about lack of goals
Müller not worried about lack of goals

Müller stepped in to answer that one. "I am not all about goals," the 26-year-old explained. "They are the paint job on my car that make things look good on the outside. My main desire is to win, to achieve great things with the Mannschaft."

That is entirely consistent with Müller's pre-finals explanation that he does not judge his performances on the number of goals he scores; and that he sometimes gets praised for being the match winner while sitting at home knowing he had "played really, really badly".

Joachim Löw has yet to confirm definitively that his No13 will keep his place for the Marseille semi-final with France, but saluted Müller for less tangible qualities than his strikes: "His movement, which disrupts the opposition defence – he likes to go deep behind their defence."

That was something lacking from Germany's game in their first two group fixtures, with Mario Götze – Löw's other forward option for Thursday – leading the line. The coach is therefore unconcerned about Müller's lean spell. "I am not worried about him," Löw said. "He always says the most important thing for him that we win. I have a feeling he will score an important goal."

Back at the conference, Müller underlined his basic sense of satisfaction. "I always wonder if I could have done things better," he said. "But so far, I haven't had that many chances. There was one against Northern Ireland I should have taken, but that doesn't kill me.

"In 2010, in South Africa, I finished as top scorer but we went out in the semis. Brazil – that was a much, much better experience for me and our country. I am not mad about not scoring. A goal would give me some peace, because then I wouldn't have to answer questions about scoring any more."

Suddenly realising he had been talking non-stop for two minutes, Müller added: "I guess this answers the question for Manuel about whether I am still talking a lot, no?" And that winning smile was back.