We last left him on the evening of the win in the 99th Côte d’Azur derby (2-1), a match that he finished with the captain’s armband on his arm. An international break later, Axel Disasi attended the pre-match press conference on Wednesday. Two days before the reception of Paris Saint-Germain at the Stade Louis-II (21:00, behind closed doors), as part of the 11th Matchday in Ligue 1, the mainstay of AS Monaco’s defense looked back on the last weeks of work of the Red and Whites.
Hello Axel. As a defender like yourself, one can’t imagine that you want to face players like Neymar and Mbappé?
It’s true that they are very great players, so for the central defender that I am, it is obvious that playing against them is a matter of satisfaction. We want to play these kinds of matches. Although in general we want to give the maximum against all teams, it is all the more true when we face great players like Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.
Do the absences on the side of PSG offer you more of a chance in this match?
I think they have worked well, they have a substantial squad as they will have the internationals coming back from the break as well. Honestly, I don’t think they will be diminished against us.
What does the absence of your captain Wissam Ben Yedder mean to you?
We’ve lost some big players, it’s true. But we know that we have a quality squad and that we can rely on each of the players who will replace the usual starters. As far as Wissam is concerned, he is a world class player, everyone knows that. On the pitch he shares his experience and in this match he will indeed be missed. But once again there are also quality players who will be able to replace him and to perform well.
How did you find out that you were appointed vice-captain?
One morning coach Niko Kovac came to see me and explained things to me. I was very surprised at first, but it’s made me proud. I would say I took a step forward coming here to Monaco. Last year I was younger, I was new to Ligue 1, I had less responsibility. I used to learn from Yunis (Abdelhamid), but today I am alongside Ruben and Benoît who know Ligue 1 well and Caio who is discovering it, and I already feel good. I am ready to face the challenge and take on this new responsibility.
You were born in Gonesse in the Paris region, is it special for you to face PSG?
Being from the Paris region, for sure it’s always special to face Paris Saint-Germain, whom I once faced in the lower leagues, when I was a young player. So yeah, it’s a little different for me.
How did you experience the announcement of so many positive COVID cases after the Nice match?
It’s true that when we learned that there were a lot of positive cases at OGC Nice, just after facing them, it was tough. We asked ourselves questions. Especially since Wissam had to leave the France team a few days after joining them. But the Club have reacted very well, you should know that the rules during the break were very strict. We trained in small groups, and we were prohibited from showering at the training center, to limit the risks.
Niko Kovac told us he thinks you are the future of the France team at your position. Do you keep the senior team in the back of your mind?
If I get up in the morning, it’s to be rewarded. But for the moment, the France team is not really on my mind yet. I am focused on my club, and depending on my performances maybe a call-up will come later. Monaco is a club with a lot of exposure. There have always been a lot of international players here. When we saw that Ruben was called last week, we were all very happy for him. And if I am called up in the future I will be very happy to answer the manager’s call as well.
In case of a good result on Friday, what can you expect this season?
We are only ont Matchday 11, so if we were to win against PSG that would be a sign for sure. Even if it is very difficult to draw conclusions after only eleven rounds. First we will focus on having a good game against Paris and we’ll see.
Was the Lyon game a motivation for the team?
After that match there was a lot of discussion between us and the coach. We saw what should not be done like that again and I think we had a good reaction afterwards against Bordeaux and Nice. We have to build on that for the next few matches, to try to continue this good run.
Kevin Volland is going to be your attacking focal point against PSG. What can you tell us about him?
Kevin is a player with great technical and finishing qualities. We all have confidence in him, in his attacking qualities. It’s up to him to score goals to confirm the good impression he has left so far. He’s someone who talks to everyone in the locker room, he has integrated really well, whether it is with those who speak French or with foreign players, experienced players or academy products. So everyone is happy to play with him, whether on or off the pitch.