Samed Kilic acknowledges France did not show their best form in their first two games, but says the defeat of Greece shows the team can "make a bigger effort".
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France are the only side at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship with a perfect record after the group stage, Patrick Gonfalone's side finishing five points clear in Group A with three victories from as many outings – and Samed Kilic is convinced Les Bleuets are going through the gears. The Auxerre midfielder was a central figure in the matchday three win against hosts Greece, and tells UEFA.com how attention has already switched to the semi-finals.
UEFA.com: Three matches, three victories: has everything gone according to plan?
Samed Kilic: Our first objective when we came here was to go through the group stage and reach the semi-finals. We've achieved that with three victories, we won our group, and that is very positive for us.
UEFA.com: Was it as straightforward as it appeared? You won all three group stage matches and never really looked in trouble in any of them…
Kilic: No, it wasn't easy. In the first match, it took us a while to settle in and find our feet. We did improve afterwards, but it was more complicated than our results suggest.
UEFA.com: You've been a regular in Ligue 2 with Auxerre this season; has that experience helped you here?
Kilic: I am trying to bring my best, to contribute to the squad, but it's the team that wins. However playing as a professional, at a high level, featuring in many matches and being at a very good level of physical condition has helped me a lot in this tournament.
UEFA.com: Have you seen much of the other group, and how will you approach the semi-finals?
Kilic: We've not concerned ourselves about what's happened in the other group. Whatever its outcome, we are in the semi-finals, and we're be assured of tough rivals no matter who we play. We've had no preferences who we play.
UEFA.com: Your coach described the third match, against Greece, as a step forward; how do you look at your three games so far?
Kilic: I must admit that we didn't play very well in the first two matches, but we got the victories and that was the most important thing. In the third encounter, against Greece, we said before going out on the pitch that we should make a bigger effort and play like we can. We did that, won again, and we are satisfied.
UEFA.com: And Moussa Dembele got a goal on his 19th birthday...
Kilic: Yes, he scored, so he gave himself a very nice gift!