France boss Didier Deschamps was pleased to see his side bounce back by beating Kazakhstan 2-0 in Astana on Sunday, Ousmane Dembélé and an own-goal sending Les Bleus provisionally top of 2022 World Cup qualifying Group D ahead of Wednesday's clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
After opening their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Ukraine on Wednesday, France were out to set things straight when they took on Kazakhstan in Astana on Sunday afternoon - and duty did so.
FC Barcelona's Ousmane Dembélé opened the scoring with a crisp low drive form the edge of the area on 20 minutes and then, just before half-time, Kazakh defender Serhiy Malyi beat Paul Pogba to an Antoine Griezmann corner only to head past his own 'keeper Aleksandr Mokin.
'It's not easy for anyone'
Nonetheless, it was far from a fluid showing from Deschamps men, but the France boss felt that his side did well given the circumstances.
"The French team is performing well and will continue to do so," he declared. "There were no big scores in other matches on Saturday either. It's not easy for anyone. You have an opponent and the packed schedule of matches plus everything leading up to that. These are not excuses. I told the players at the talk to do the job, to win. It was bare minimum, but we won."
'The main thing is to reach the goal'
Deschamps had rung the changes following the Ukraine draw, with Kylian Mbappé notably starting on the bench, and was well pleased with their performance as France climbed to the top of 2022 World Cup qualifying Group D.
"There were nine new players compared to the match against Ukraine, but they already had experience," explained Deschamps, who has one of the world's most impressive talent pools at his disposal. "I'm not going to take credit away from them for doing well. Qualifying is always difficult; the main thing is to reach the goal. The whole squad responded in a difficult match against an opponent who showed a lot of drive and motivation."
'Lack of cutting edge'
Deschamps did feel there was room for improvement in one area, however, with Mokin producing a string of stunning saves in the second half - notably stopping a spot-kick from Mbappé - to stop the scoreline from blowing out.
"If I have one regret, it's our lack of cutting edge as we looked to increase the scoreline towards the end," said Deschamps. "But these three points have the same value as those taken against other teams. We'll appreciate it because everything is happening very quickly."
Les Bleus' third and final World Cup qualifier for the week sees them travel to Sarajevo to taken Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday evening.