France boss Didier Deschamps has leaped to the defence of striker Olivier Giroud, stating the boos he received on Monday night was ‘unfair’.
The Gunners forward scored the second of France’s three goals as they beat Cameroon 3-2 in their penultimate Euro 2016 warm-up fixture.
Despite the goal, it didn’t prevent the home fans jeering the 29-year-old who are said to be upset at the decision to include Giroud over the likes of Karim Benzema, Alexandre Lacazette and Kevin Gameiro – all of whom have scored 20+ goals for their respective sides this season.
“You hear what you want. The whistles were unfair tonight, but in Biarritz, he was applauded. People can be conditioned,” Deschamps said.
“But Olivier scored again. When you say it, you are not helpful. You are free to say what you want but this is not necessarily the truth.”
It is not the first time in Giroud’s career that he has been the target of boos from his own supporters, having experienced similar treatment from a section of Arsenal fans, notably in the 3-1 defeat at home to Monaco in last season’s Champions League round of 16 tie.
With five goals in his last four starts for his country, the former Montpellier man has been in good form when turning out for Les Bleus as of late, and admits it is disappointing to not have the full backing of the French fanbase.
“It’s a shame,” Giroud told reporters after the game. “Playing for France, even when you miss a chance, you’re expecting applause and encouragement. They’re also there for that. I don’t understand it too much but it won’t stop me from sleeping.”
When asked whether the absence of some high-profile names had something to do with the criticism, Giroud agreed that may be the case.
“It’s maybe linked to that — you shouldn’t bury your head in the sand,” he added. “I talked about it with Dede [Gignac]. We’re going to be targeted. You have to be honest. I don’t know if there would have been whistles if he was there.
“I’ll never be to everybody’s liking and I have no problems with that.
“The main thing is to help the team to win and to score as many goals as possible. There’ll be huge expectation during the Euros so I’m concentrating on what I have to do.”
Article by Dean Carr of SBAT.com.