Olivier Giroud says he’s haunted by missed goal scoring opportunities and revealed that Arsene Wenger is pushing him to be more sly in and around the penalty box.
The striker, who scored his first World Cup goal for France in the 5-2 hammering of Switzerland, earned plaudits for the impact he made in Salvador on Friday but believes he’s still got areas of his game to improve.
Pinpointing a squandered opportunity against Chelsea that would have given the Gunners an early lead at Stamford Bridge in a game they went on to lose 6-0, the Frenchman told L’Equipe (translation by @MattSpiro):
“I have to do better in the big games and I’m working on it. I still think about those misses against Chelsea.
“I often look back at my mistakes with Arsene Wenger. He says I have to improve my finishing and my movement. He wants me to make smarter runs.
“One day Wenger told me I’m too honest in my running, too predictable. I need to be more sly, tricky. I’m getting there.”
Giroud’s goal against the Swiss – a towering header from a corner that gave his country the lead – was his ninth goal in 32 appearances since making his debut for Les Bleus just over two years ago. A landmark moment in his career, the 27-year-old reflected that he’ll forever cherish making his mark in such a showpiece spectacle.
“It’s something that will stay with me throughout my career. When you score, you think about your loved ones, about your family. It’s a very special moment; it’s unique.
“It represents the aggregate of a whole career and it’s great to feel that fulfilment and to have played an active role in the result. I wasn’t aware that it was France’s 100th World Cup goal – I only found out after the match.”
Asked if the strike represented ‘revenge’ having missed out on a starting berth in the first game despite a positive impact during France’s World Cup warm-up games he continued:
“I don’t really like the word ‘revenge’. I would prefer to say it was a personal victory. The course of my career has been atypical, just like Franck Ribéry, Mathieu Valbuena and Laurent Koscielny. When I was 17, success in my career was far from a foregone conclusion. I’ve come a very long way to get here.”
He certainly has. Good on him.