France coach Didier Deschamps on Wednesday admitted that his decision to make sweeping changes prevented Les Bleus from performing at their best in a 0-0 World Cup draw with Ecuador.
"When there are changes, it does have an impact on the cohesion of the team," he said after the draw at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro that saw France progress to the last 16 as winners of Group E.
Deschamps made six changes to the team that hammered Switzerland 5-2 last Friday, including bringing in Morgan Schneiderlin for his first international start in place of the banned Yohan Cabaye.
The draw against an Ecuador side, that played most of the second half with 10 men after Antonio Valencia was sent off, sealed France's qualification, but their performance was nothing like the spectacular showing against the Swiss.
"I could put out the same team every time, but then it would be pointless having the other players here," said Deschamps. "I have confidence in all 23 players and we needed to find the right balance between preserving some who have played a lot of games and making sure that others who we may require later on are in good condition.”
"It takes away some of the fluidity and we were less dangerous in the first half. After the red card we had a bit more space and some good moves but were not as clinical in front of goal as usual,” he observed.
"Maybe this result will calm some people down. The World Cup is the highest level and we can't win every game by three goals."