Deschamps hails persistent France

France coach Didier Deschamps hailed his side for their persistence after two late goals saw off a dogged Albania and put the hosts into the last 16 of Euro 2016.

France struggled to break down a resilient Albania side in Marseille until goals from substitute Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet in the last few minutes of the Group A clash saw them home.

After the game, Deschamps told reporters he was happy with France’s character and flexibility.

“It shows the players are prepared to keep working right to the end,” he said. “We are not stuck with playing one formation. We had a much better balance in the second half and were more aggressive. I would like to break the deadlock a little earlier, of course.”

Deschamps dropped star players Griezmann and Paul Pogba to the bench for the tie, bringing them on in the second half as part of a tactical switch that eventually paid dividends.

The France coach also praised Albania’s stubbornness, saying: “They played with a lot of heart and spirit but in the end we found the solutions.

“My squad are great competitors and that is what I like to see. We were a little destabilised in the first half and we were not always working together. That is why I changed it.”