'Griezmann is not a number 10' - Deschamps slammed for playing France star out of position in Portugal stalemate

Cristiano Ronaldo Antoine Griezmann France Portugal Nations League 11102020
The France boss has been criticised for tinkering his line-up in a bid to help the Barcelona forward rediscover his lost confidence

Antoine Griezmann is not a number 10, according to Alain Giresse, who has slammed Didier Deschamps for playing the France star out of position during a stalemate with Portugal.

France were held to a 0-0 draw by Portugal in a surprisingly muted UEFA Nations League clash at Stade de France on Sunday.

A repeat of the 2016 European Championship final, which Portugal won after extra-time, was expected to deliver fireworks, with 1,000 France fans granted entry to cheer on the World Cup winners amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Kylian Mbappe squandered the best chance of the game for the hosts when he saw a strike saved by Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio, while Pepe headed the ball into the net for the visitors only to be denied by the offside flag.

The two sides ultimately cancelled each other out, with Griezmann forming one-third of an ineffective attacking triumvirate alongside Mbappe and Olivier Giroud.

The 29-year-old has struggled for form since joining Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019, and has yet to score  at the start of the new La Liga season, with his struggles continuing on the international stage.

France legend Giresse, who was part of the squad which won the 1984 European Championship, says Deschamps is guilty of trying to pander to Griezmann's needs instead of the team's, and that Giroud should be the man occupying the main target man role.

"The problem is, Griezmann has lost his confidence, and Didier is playing him to try and bring it back," Giresse told L'Equipe after the clash with Portugal.

"He played like a 10, but Griezmann is not a 10. We have always said that if there is a player who the play should revolve around, it should be Giroud. At the World Cup, it was like that with Mbappe on one side and [Blaise] Matuidi on the other.

"Well, we talked about a 4-4-2 and a diamond system in the middle and we know very well that we need things to complement each other when we try to play this way.

"However, for two matches, Didier Deschamps places Griezmann behind the two in front of Giroud and Mbappe. But against the Portuguese, Griezmann behaved more like a kind of false off-centre attacker, he was no longer in support of Giroud.

"Because Mbappe, he is not the type of player who will move around the striker. He needs space."

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Asked if Deschamps should ring the changes for a midweek clash against Croatia, Giresse responded: "Maybe, but not beyond one or two, three maximum. After, I would try to get closer to the system of play at the last World Cup in Russia, when our midfield got along well with our attacking sector.

"So I put Giroud up front, Mbappe on one side, to the right or to the left it doesn't matter and I balance with a player on the right like [Kingsley] Coman.

"Finally, I put Griezmann in support of Giroud, but not as a 10 because he expressed himself better in a nine-and-a-half position. It had worked perfectly, but again, Griezmann may need to regain more confidence."