Olivier Giroud has discussed the reasons behind taking a knee after his goal against Aston Villa.

The French striker scored our winner in that 2-1 victory in Birmingham and marked his goal by taking to one knee and pointing to the heavens, reflecting both his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and his religious beliefs.

‘It was just a tribute to George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, and also because I always point my fingers to the sky because I’m Christian,’ explained Giroud. ‘As a Christian I feel we live in a difficult time and I would love people to show more love to each other and eradicate this kind of hate.

‘I want to stand for that, for that kind of cause, against racism, antisemitism, homophobia. I think it was important also that something came from a white guy.

‘I think we should stick together and we need to show more respect and support, humility and love to each other.’

He also discussed the goal itself and how it felt to be back in competitive action after such a long wait.

‘I said to someone in the dressing room it was my right foot so I needed the deflection to get it in! But seriously, it was on target and there were a lot of people in front of me. It’s quite rare for me so I take it with great pleasure.

‘Personally, I feel very good. Physically I felt good. We’ve been working with the team, with the squad at training and we just had a strong desire to show our commitment and determination. Obviously it didn’t go the best way in the first half. We could have scored first but it’s always nice to show a great team character like that, come back and to win the game, so I’m very pleased for the team.

‘I just try to help the team, to give my best and today I’ve been lucky that Azpi made a cut-back. I was a bit unlucky on some crosses but in the end I’m very happy for the team, to score and win that game. It was very important for us because now there is a gap between us and the ones behind us. So we need to move forwards now and, maybe, why not the third place.’