France must win without Pogba, Mbappe and Kante - Tolisso

Laurence Griffiths

France must continue to win despite the high-profile absences of Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, according to Corentin Tolisso.

The reigning world champions entered the international break already short star man Mbappe, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury in August.

Kante is also out for France, having picked up an ankle injury in training with Chelsea that caused him to miss two Premier League games before the break.

Pogba was named on the France roster, but he too pulled out of the squad right after the start of the break, with Matteo Guendouzi called up in his place.

France overcame those injuries to emerge with a 4-1 victory over Albania in Euro 2020 qualifying and hope to maintain their place atop Group H when they host minnows Andorra, who are winless thus far in the group, on Tuesday.

And while Tolisso believes his high-profile team-mates are big losses, he knows that, with expectations high, France must continue to perform without them present.

“[Pogba, Mbappé and Kante] are very important players in our squad,” Tolisso told reporters. “We cannot wait for them to come back, but whether they are present or not, the France team has to win.

“I think that with or without them we would have won anyway.”

Tolisso featured as part of a two-man central midfield in the victory over Albania alongside Blaise Matuidi, as Antoine Griezmann played underneath Olivier Giroud, who led the line, with Kingsley Coman and Thomas Lemar stood out wide.

It is a different set-up than Tolisso is used to at Bayern Munich, where the Bundesliga champions employ three central midfielders with a dedicated holding player.

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And asked if having to pick up greater defensive responsibilities was difficult alongside Matuidi, Tolisso admitted some adjustment is needed but that he gets on well with the Juventus man.

“I got on well with Blaise,” Tolisso said. “We had already played together before. It's easy to play with a talented player like Blaise Matuidi.

“At Bayern, we play more often two 8s with a 6 back. Being deeper is not a problem. These are two different styles of play where I simply need to adapt.”