11 years later, AS Monaco are back in the Coupe de France final! Despite the conceding the opening goal after 20 minutes of play, the Rouge et Blanc reacted well and easily won their Coupe de France semifinal match against Rumilly Vallières, 5-1. This latest success in the competition further reinforces the idea that Niko Kovac is a man for whom the national cups are a specialty, having recorded his 24th victory in 25 matches. The Croatian manager, obviously satisfied with the team’s qualification, spoke to the media, without forgetting to pay tribute to the competition’s minnow.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) May 13, 2021
Your team took a little while to show a sense of rhythm…
First of all, I would like to congratulate Rumilly on their run in the cup and on the match they played this evening. They played really well, especially in the first half where they put a lot of intensity into the game. I want to congratulate the manager and the players. We did concede this goal but it was perhaps necessary for us. We then ramped back up and we came back into the game. It was a lot better in terms of the pace and I think the victory was deserved.
Were you worried when they opened the scoring?
No I will not say that we were afraid. This opening goal came in the 20th minute. There were still 70 minutes to go. Before the opener, we had three chances. At the beginning, there was a lot of back and forth. We ramped up and they sat back. I trust in my players; I was not afraid.
Do you have a preference between qualifying for the Champions League and winning the Coupe de France?
I’m very happy to play in Paris and to have this chance to play in the final against a great team. We are here to win. At the start of the season, we wanted to get back to winning ways, to put AS Monaco back on top. We have already qualified for European competition; now we have a great opportunity to win a trophy.
A great match awaits us on Sunday against Stade Rennais where we will need a lot of concentration against a difficult opponent. I see that the players want to go as high as possible and keep growing and improving. I don’t want to stop them from dreaming. They are achieving great things and we must continue to work.
How will you approach these last three matches?
I think the most important thing is to take things game by game. Tonight, we needed a victory to maintain our good form and good humor in the squad. Qualifying tonight was the best solution to prepare for this match against Rennes.
Maybe we will have the chance to get players like Sofiane, Krépin or Jove’ back into the team. This would allow the team to have more options. We are happy and we must continue like this. We’ll see what happens next.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) May 13, 2021
What did you say to Rumilly’s coach after the meeting?
I gave him my congratulations. Taking a 4th division team to the semifinals of the Coupe de France is a great achievement. They notably beat Toulouse in the semifinals. He and his players have done a wonderful job. That’s what I told him in essence. We are both coaches so I really wanted to send him this message.
Are you enjoying the Cup or is it just a matter of chance?
I love the Cup (laughs). I love these knockout games where you get the chance to progress if you win. As a competitor, I always want to win. The series continues. I’m here for another 2-3 years so hopefully it will last as long as possible.
What do you expect in the final?
I will say it’s a great match between two great teams, set to take place in a great stadium. I’m happy to go there again after playing there as a player. Paris Saint-Germain is a great team with classy players. They have the advantage of having more players in their squad who are used to playing finals and winning trophies.
We are going to enter as an outsider but we have the possibility of winning this match, as had previously happened to me with Frankfurt. We respect this team. They also respect us, I think. These are two great Ligue 1 teams. We’ll see where things take us.