He scored his first goal this season against Girondins de Bordeaux last weekend in 4-0 victory. Chipping in as well with an assist on Kevin Volland’s second goal, Gelson Martins showed how much he can complement his attacking partners, in the German forward and captain Wissam Ben Yedder. Two days before the derby in Nice, the Portuguese winger AS Monaco’s Portuguese winger spoke to a pre-match press conference, along with Niko Kovac.
Gelson, how did the group react to Benjamin Lecomte’s injury?
It’s a big loss for us, it’s sad news for the squad. But I think we have other goalkeepers in our squad who are going to be able to show their qualities.
What can you tell us about your form at the moment?
On a collective level, at the beginning we tried to understand the coach’s instructions. It’s getting better and better, we’re getting better and we’re working hard on it. I had to really understand what the coach wanted from me and I think it’s going better and better.
Tell us a bit about this derby against Nice …
It’s a very important match for us, it’s important to take the three points for us and for the fans. We will give everything to win this match.
How did you feel in this new role on the left wing in a 4-4-2 against Bordeaux?
Yes it is true that this 4-4-2 system helped the team in the last game, the formation paid off. We are trying to find the best possible formula and do our best on the pitch to help the team. It’s true that I feel comfortable in this system, because I can contribute offensively to the team, I can help my teammates.
📹 𝗟𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝘁 de @GelsonMartins_ qui surgit au 2ème poteau sur un centre tendu de l'infatigable Ruben Aguilar 🤝
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) November 2, 2020
Do you think that the fact that Nice are playing every three days with the Europa League, could this be an advantage for you?
I don’t think the Europa League game will have an impact on Sunday’s game. I think Nice will benefit from its strength in playing this match. We are focused on this match and ignore the fact that Nice plays every three days.
How did you feel about the end of your suspension?
My suspension is a situation that I regretted but when I saw that the Club worked hard to reduce its duration and that it allowed me to come back earlier than planned, I was relieved to be able to get back to the pitch and my teammates. I am very grateful to the club’s hierarchy.
How is the competition for the attacking places within the group?
I think there is a lot of confidence in our squad. There is a lot of youth but also experienced elements. There is every option available for the coach in my opinion so that we are good in this area of play.
Tell us about Caio Henrique, who we know little about at the moment…
Caio Henrique has a lot of quality — he is a player who can contribute a lot. He’s a player who is able to adapt to all systems of play, I think he will help us a lot this season.
Is the Portuguese national team still a goal for you?
Regarding the first team, I have already had the opportunity to comment on the subject. After my six-month suspension, we have to find some rhythm, perform well with AS Monaco to regain the selection. That’s all I want, and I work hard in training for that.
What is the mood like in the team this season, how do you feel?
This season there is ambition, goals, but I think we have to take the games one after the other, to concentrate on each one individually, to take the three points and we will see what we are able to do in end of season.
And you personally, how do you feel, two years after your arrival?
I feel like I’ve gained confidence and I feel trust within the squad. My goal is to help the team achieve great things.
The coach told us about your rather calm temperament, is it in your nature?
I’ve been here for two years. I know the players well now, I am comfortable in this group. It’s true that I’ve always been that way, a bit of an introvert, but I also try to be cheerful and communicative in the locker room every now and then, even though I’m quite calm by nature.
What is your opinion on Nice, who have just lost their captain, Dante, to injury?
They’re a very good team that lost an important player, their captain Dante, but I think it will still be a tough match against them. This team is a bit like us, they like to have the ball, but I think it’s the physical aspect that will determine the outcome of the game.
Niko Kovac on Gelson Martins :
Did you know about Gelson Martins before you arrived in Monaco and what can you tell us about him?
Yes of course I knew him. He’s played for big clubs like Atlético Madrid. He has great technical quality, he is very fast which is important for a winger. He also knows how to win one-on-one duels, to score and to create as he proved last week against Bordeaux where he scored the second and also set up Kevin Volland. He’s a player who is important for the team, he tries to help our attackers. He only spent two games on the bench at the start of the season and it was a little more difficult for him, but I know that he is a very important player for us and we are happy to have him among us.
How did you have to convince Gelson Martins to work physically as you wanted?
He had a good preseason, with very good results. He worked a lot to be able to play on the left flank as well. He has a great right foot, he can score and add assists. I think where we have made progress is in the work for the team, the ability to track back, to help the team defend when you don’t have the ball. Gelson isn’t particularly outgoing, but he immediately understood what he was asked to do. He is the player we need the most.