Olivier Giroud’s goal on Thursday night was his 10th in the Europa League this season, two clear of the next best tally, but though he enjoyed the first half against Slavia Prague during which it was scored, he agrees there are lessons to learn from how the second half panned out.
The France centre-forward finished off a great move to extend our aggregate lead over the Czech side to 4-0, but by the end of the game it was 5-3 in the Blues’ favour. We were especially vulnerable at the start of the second half when we conceded twice.
‘We started the game very well, we have been efficient,’ noted Giroud.
‘Scoring four goals in a half is very nice but obviously after the half-time, in the second half, we should have kept control of the game but they [Slavia Prague] scored two nice goals with long shots from distance.
‘We could have put more pressure on the ball but we knew this team was not going to give up so we have been under pressure until the end.
‘We dropped a little bit of our intensity and made some technical mistakes. It is a game of two halves and we need to learn to play the intensity of the first half in the second half. We need to learn from the mistakes we made in the second half.
‘The most important thing was to win this game and we took a lot of pleasure on the pitch, especially in the first half, but obviously we need to be more solid in the second half.’
Giroud turned his attention forward to the semi-final where we will play Eintracht Frankfurt who overcame a 4-2 deficit from the first leg to triumph with a 2-0 home win against Benfica.
‘It is going to be a good game,’ he said. ‘I love playing German teams, there is going to be a good atmosphere over there. We expect a really tough game. They are a good team with a good strikers so we have to be focused and cautious.’