Didier Deschamps: Ireland did a really good job in dealing with Kylian Mbappe

27 March 2023; France goalkeeper Mike Maignan saves the header from Nathan Collins of Republic of Ireland in the closing moments of the UEFA EURO 2024 Championship Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and France at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell

Didier Deschamps paid tribute to goalkeeper Mike Maignan for his ‘amazing save’ as France reflected on a testing evening in Dublin.

The France manager admitted that his side found it difficult to break down an Irish side which had a long preparation time in comparison to the visitors.

He reserved special praise for Mike Maignan, the AC Milan netminder who made a stunning late stop to deny Nathan Collins.

Maignan has stepped into the shoes vacated by the retirement of Hugo Lloris, the skipper of the side that lost December’s World Cup final, and his performance was the major positive Deschamps took away from a hard fought victory.

“We did what we have to do to win,” said Deschamps. “We had an amazing save at the end that was almost as important as the goal.

“It’s an incredible save. We know what Mike is capable of. He has incredible qualities, a great stature and mentality. He saved a penalty on Friday (in 4-0 win over The Netherlands) but the save tonight was far more significant, I’ve never had any doubts about him.”

Deschamps was complimentary about the defensive strength of Stephen Kenny’s Ireland side, especially with regard to how they posed problems for the axis of Kylian Mbappe and Theo Hernandez on the left side.

“I think the opposition did a really good job on defending them,” he said. “We scored four on Friday, but didn’t pose much of a threat today but that speaks to the work of the Irish defence. The two games were really different, we had real solidity in the team throughout. We’ve to be happy with the way things have gone.

“There’s a lot of positives. We have six points, we scored five goals, we have not conceded any. We had a tough schedule coming here after not playing Friday, we had an opposition that was fresh with the public behind them.”