‘Griezmann’s Barcelona efforts aren’t catastrophic’ – France boss Deschamps believes in star man

Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann’s early experiences at Barcelona have not been “catastrophic”, says France boss Didier Deschamps, with the World Cup winner considered to still be a key man for his country.

At the end of a protracted transfer saga which had dragged on for over a year, Griezmann finally made a big-money switch to Camp Nou over the summer.

He left behind a productive spell at Atletico Madrid and took on a new challenge with the reigning La Liga champions.

The 28-year-old was drafted into an attacking unit which already included Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, with fireworks predicted in Catalunya.

Barca have found themselves short of a spark at times, with Griezmann contributing only four goals and three assists in the Spanish top flight.

He has faced questions from some, but Deschamps believes a man who helped Les Bleus to global glory in 2018 remains one of the finest forwards around.

"Things could be better, but I watch each match, and things are far from catastrophic," Deschamps told reporters ahead of a Euro 2020 qualifying clash with Moldova on Thursday.

"It is also a question of how he is used. He was in his best role with Atletico Madrid.

"Perhaps he is less decisive [with Barcelona] than he is with us. However, he knows his importance to us and my confidence in him."

Olivier Giroud Chelsea 2019-20

Griezmann is not the only French forward seeking consistency in 2019-20.

Olivier Giroud continues to be called upon by his country, but the 33-year-old is struggling for minutes under Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

It has been suggested that he will seek a move in January, as he looks to find regular game time, and Deschamps admits the situation is far from ideal for an experienced performer.

He added: "Obviously, it is a difficult situation for Olivier.

"He knew since September that there was no obvious solution. He is coping with the situation, and it will not change before a door opens in January."

Article continues below

For now Giroud is focused on firing France to Euro 2020, with Les Bleus set to book their place at next summer’s finals with a positive result against Moldova.

Deschamps said, with the world champions taking nothing for granted: "Being prudent does not mean being fearful.

"It is always good to be careful or vigilant. The reality is that we have not qualified - that is a fact. We will do everything to reach our goal. We must not believe that we have already qualified. We must ensure our qualification here. This is no trap."