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Matuidi confident France have the depth to cope with missing stars

France midfielder Blaise Matuidi believes the World Cup winners cannot look for excuses despite a growing number of absentees.

Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte has been sidelined by a knee injury and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba has pulled out with an ankle problem, while Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele and Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante were not considered for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers due to fitness concerns.

It should not, however, pose too much of a problem against Albania and Andorra.

“There are many injured players, it is not a very good period, but that does not have to be an excuse,” Matuidi told a press conference.

“We are lucky to have a huge pool, with a lot of high-quality players. There are important players who are absent but there are others who are here who have proved for their club that they can bring a lot.

“The 23 players who are here have to be competitive and we have to win both games.

“Playing against Albania is never easy either. we will do everything to win.”

Matuidi admitted he may have been premature in announcing last November he would retire from international football after the European Championship.

The Juventus midfielder will be 33 next summer but believes his fitness could allow him to continue.

“There is the luck factor, I have not had a big injury and I pay attention to my body,” he added.

“I feel really good right now, a little like the feeling of a second youth, and I do not set a limit as I love football so much.

“As long as my body will allow me I want to enjoy it to the fullest. I may have made a mistake by saying that I will stop after the Euros.”

Albania face a tough task at the Stade de France but midfielder Keidi Bare said they had to remain optimistic.

“I believe everything, because in football you can achieve everything, no matter who plays,” he told a press conference.

“However we must give our best and hope to get something. France are a very strong team, but we can try to get at least a draw.”

France are top of Group H on goal difference from Turkey and Iceland, with three wins from their four games so far.

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