He is only the second Austrian coach to take his place on the bench of the Club after Anton Marek in the 1950s (1956-1958). Appointed at the beginning of July as the head coach of AS Monaco,, Adi Hütter is continuing to get to know his new players as the preseason of the Rouge et Blanc progresses. He tells us now about his feelings on joining the club, but also more about himself — read our lengthy interview with the Austrian coach from the team’s training camp at St. George’s Park.🎙
Hello coach. What have been your first impressions since your arrival at AS Monaco?
I am really very proud to have joined this magnificent club, which has a rich history. When I arrived two and a half weeks ago (interview carried out during the training camp in Birmingham, editor’s note), it was a bit special, because it was late at night. But the next day when I arrived at the Performance Center, it was incredible.
I was impressed by the infrastructure but also by the depth of the staff, because I had never experienced this before. I saw very professional people, who were very welcoming and available. They made me feel that there is a sense of energy in this ultra-modern building. And that’s the most important thing to me. I really feel that everyone is hungry for success, and doing everything for the success of the Club. So yes I was really impressed.
Speaking of staff, there is a performance team that is tailored to meet the challenges of modern football.
Of course. James Bunce and his team are great professionals, with great knowledge in the physical and athletic fields in particular. They do everything to support me as a coach and help us a lot with the technical staff, because we have a lot of information to record. They prepare the program for our training sessions. Honestly, I have never experienced this level of skill. Everyone really has very important knowledge in their field.
During your presentation to the press, you insisted on an idea of family. Is this one of the reasons that convinced you that you had made the right choice by joining Monaco?
Today I think everyone wants to get back to playing in Europe, within the Club. It is one of our main objectives, even if it is difficult of course, to return to the continental scene. AS Monaco deserves to compete in prestigious competitions like the Champions League. And to do that you have to finish at the top of the table. It’s a big challenge for us, and I think we have a chance to achieve it.
In any case, we will fight every day to do so. And for that, it’s important to feel the support of everyone behind us, and that’s what I feel. We all have different roles, but keep the same goal in mind. It’s important to be proud to work at AS Monaco and strive for success, working together, pulling in the same direction. All these people around us give us a lot of positive energy, and the players have to feel this.
As you have already said, AS Monaco has a great history. What did you know about it before joining the Club?
Recently, I obviously followed the 2016-2017 season which saw them win the French title and that great campaign in the Champions League. But long before that, I was already watching AS Monaco in European competitions especially. There have always been great players here, and I could see that when I arrived at the Performance Center, with this wall at the entrance. Looking at it, we remember that this or that star played here. Of course I can think of players like Kylian Mbappé, Radamel Falcao, Fabinho, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet… There are so many!
This club really has a strong history, but also a very good academy which is essential. Because I like to develop young talents, to support them until they become great players. And in this, the Academy is a great tool to support our young players to reach the top level and our first team. Because besides getting back into Europe, we have to develop our young players. This is our challenge, and it’s a question of balance. Because at the end of the day, you have to be successful.
To talk a little more about yourself, can you tell us what sort of coach you are?
I like for my teams to play aggressive football in a good way, to be proactive, with a clear idea of how to play. This must go with the desire to have a conquering state of mind, to show character, when you lose the ball for example. It is important that everyone finds their place in this vision. As a coach, I like to communicate a lot. I also have to be a leader, even if I prefer to say “team player” like Thiago (Scuro) expressed so well.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) July 21, 2023
In the end, it’s me who makes the decisions, but I have to make everyone come together, all of these energies, towards the same objective. I also like to maintain a relationship with my players, to speak with them, because behind everyone there is a human being. So I want to create this link, because in the end it’s the players who are on the pitch, not me. We must therefore do everything to ensure that they are all in the best condition.
Why is it so important to play aggressively in modern football?
I think football has evolved a lot. And personally I don’t like to keep the ball too much with horizontal passes in our own half of the pitch. When you look at our game against Cercle and the one against Betis, there was a big difference, it’s incomparable. Cercle played very directly, while Betis played a lot with the ball in their own half. For us it was obvious that it was easier to press them.
We’ve trained in such a way as to play vertically, and it was thanks to this that we created nine big chances in the first half against the Spaniards. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to score, but this style of play was very interesting. And then we left no openings for the opponent, remaining very compact at the back. This is how we see our football.
After the game, you said that you don’t care about the results of the friendly matches, but that you watch how they went above all…
Obviously! When you manage to impose your principles, sooner or later you will know success. Against Betis once again we deserved this victory (1-3). Then also friendly matches allow you to see how well the players have assimilated what we work on daily in training. And I saw that we had improved a lot between those two games. Everyone was logically satisfied with this result, this first success in pre-season. But in the end the objective remains to prepare the team for Ligue 1.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) July 19, 2023
Explain to us what is the importance of a preseason training course?
For development, preparing for the season, showing players that you always have to do more. It also helps to work on the state of mind and make them adhere to my ideas, which I must transmit to them. This is the biggest difficulty, the transmission. Then the objective is to prepare physically, and we were lucky at St. George’s Park to benefit from its superb facilities. In addition to having an acceptable temperature in which to train, because it is very hot at the moment in Monaco.
And then we had two very good games against Betis Sevilla and Leeds. So it was an opportunity for me to show in training what I want to see when the season kicks off. Finally, it is also an opportunity to do tea- building activities, because you need time for everyone to get to know each other. It is also my job with the staff, to build this sort of relationship.
To go back to your past experiences, you were champion with Young Boys of Bern, 32 years after the club’s last title. Tell us more…
It was a wonderful day! Imagine the feeling of the supporters and all the people who love the club, they had not known this joy for more than thirty years. They did not even imagine that this could happen, because FC Basel had become like Bayern Munich in Germany, an untouchable club. We changed a lot of things to achieve this goal, developing young players and playing an attractive style of football.
But once again this year was exceptional, we were leading the league with a 15-point lead, it was huge. Today the club has had a string of successes with five Swiss championship titles in a row, and everyone is delighted to see how Young Boys are playing.
Do you remember that within a month you could have played against AS Monaco in the Champions League play-offs?
Yes I remember that Bern lost 4-0 and then I replaced Uli Forte who was coaching the team at that time. Just before, they had faced a team from Kazakhstan, FK Qarabag, then I came onto the bench in September 2015. So I didn’t have the opportunity to play against Monaco at that time, but a few years later later there was a friendly in 2020 (1-1).
You have in any case faced other French teams in the Europa League!
Yes it’s true, Marseille in 2019. But before that we first played Strasbourg in the playoffs. It was really a very good season! I remember that we also won 5-0 against Bayern Munich. But we had a very good first part of the season, since we were fourth in the standings.
And then this European run was incredible, because we successively eliminated Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan and Benfica. Before unfortunately going out in the semi-finals with two draws against Chelsea. Do you realize, in 14 Europa League games, we only lost once and that was against Benfica! It was truly a fantastic season. So I have actually played a few times against French clubs, with good success.
You coached a former AS Monaco player with Frankfurt, Almamy Touré…
I really like Almamy, he’s a great guy. I’ve kept good contacts with my players from Frankfurt, where I experienced good things. Unfortunately for him, he has often been plagued by injuries, but he really is a great person.
In Germany, you had a nearly 40% winning percentage against Bayern Munich. Do you have a secret?
I don’t know if there is a recipe against Bayern Munich. In any case, it’s true that I managed to beat this team several times, including the famous 5-0 with Mönchengladbach, with a double from Breel Embolo. I believe that this was the biggest success of my coaching career so far. It was fantastic !
I would say it’s actually a bit easier for me, since Breel speaks German and there are also other German-speaking players in the team. So with them there is no language barrier. Takumi played for me in 2015 in Salzburg, and he was very young. And today he is here and I am very happy about it, because I like Japanese players. They give a lot on the pitch, they are real fighters. So it’s a chance for me to reunite with players I know well.
To finish the interview, is there anything you’d like to say to the supporters?
(Spontaneously) DAGHE MUNEGU! 🇲🇨