Pogba`s omission not a punishment: Deschamps

AFP| Updated: Jun 22, 2014, 11:14 AM IST

Highly-rated young midfielder Paul Pogba did not start the Group E game against Switzerland for tactical reasons, not because he was being punished for his excitable performance against Honduras in the opening game, said France coach Didier Deschamps.

Moussa Sissoko started in the impressive 5-2 win instead of Pogba, 21, and who had been fortunate to stay on the pitch during a fiery altercation with Honduran hardman midfielder Wilson Palacios in the first-half of the previous match.

Their feud erupted further in the second-half with the Honduran being red carded when he pushed the Juventus star over but Deschamps insisted he had not dropped him because he thought he might get into trouble and cost the team dearly on account of his fragile temperament.

"It was not a punishment because he could have had a red card (against Honduras)," said Deschamps.

"It was because I preferred to choose Sissoko, who is an excellent player. He is not the same type of player, he has different qualities.

"Paul has enormous potential, I have confidence in him.

"After that, though, there is the reality of the highest level, you have to dig deep. He saw that yesterday, and he made an impact when he came on (in the 63rd minute and set up Karim Benzema for the fourth goal).

"He is young but it is no handicap."

Deschamps, bidding to emulate Germany`s Franz Beckenbauer and Mario Zagallo of Brazil in winning the World Cup trophy both as a player and as coach, revealed also that central defender Mamadou Sakho could be doubtful for the final group game against Ecuador on Wednesday.

The Liverpool player, 24, has a thigh injury and had to go off in the second-half of the Swiss game.

"I thought it might be difficult from the moment he had a problem on Friday. To recover full fitness in four days is a pretty tall order."