France have not won in their last five games and captain Hugo Lloris admitted Les Bleus had been lacking confidence since their shock exit from Euro 2020 at the last-16 stage.
Didier Deschamps’s side host Finland on Tuesday in a key World Cup qualifier in Group D, which they lead with nine points from five games — four ahead of the Finns who have two matches in hand.
The world champions will bid to avoid falling behind again as they did in their two previous matches which ended in 1-1 draws against Bosnia and Ukraine.
“We’re aware that we’re in a difficult situation which maybe was not the case before the Ukraine game (last Saturday),” Lloris told a news conference on Monday.
“Tomorrow is a game that has become more important than it should have been. We need to get our self confidence back. It will be easier to go forward with a win (on Tuesday).
“It’s obvious that we’re missing some confidence and against Ukraine it could have been catastrophic,” he added, admitting the team got “scared”.
Les Bleus were knocked out of the European Championship by Switzerland on penalties after squandering a 3-1 lead.
“It really hurt us,” said Lloris. “When you’re not expected to get punched, it hurts more.
“Change is not going to happen overnight but tomorrow we’ll have to start strong and give everything.”
France will be without defender Jules Kounde, who is suspended after picking up a red card against Bosnia last week.
He was replaced in the squad by forward Wissam Ben Yedder.