It’s three for three for AS Monaco against OGC Nice this season. At the end of a match in which they controlled proceedings against their derby rivals, Niko Kovac’s Rouge et Blanc dominated the match to record a third win in as many matches in the Côte d’Azur derby (0-2), a first since the 2013-2014 season, a result obtained thanks to goals from Kevin Volland and Ruben Aguilar. Here is the reaction of the Monegasque coach, who was necessarily satisfied to leave a place in the Round of 16 of the Coupe de France.
Hello Niko. You rotated the squad tonight, are you satisfied with the reaction after training?
Yes, I told my players that I was happy with their having progressed. I told them that the defeat against Strasbourg was an accident. There was a great reaction from the team against a good side in the form of Nice. We played 90 quality minutes, we were disciplined and organized. In the end, we deserved this victory.
Do you know a little more about Aurélien Tchouameni’s injury?
I asked him how he felt when he was taken off; we think it is nothing serious. He had a little pain in his back. We will see over the next few days; I hope he will be available against Lille.
AS Monaco are now qualified for the round of 16. Wouldn’t it be nice to end the season with a title?
This is the shortest way to a title. There are still eight Ligue 1 teams in the competition. We will see what can be done. There are four games left to reach the final, so we shall see.
Some first team players still played 90 minutes…
We have six days to rest, which is enough to recover from a match. The players are in good physical shape. There is no problem, we are well prepared. Our goal is to be playing every three days.
Guillermo Maripán also seemed to have some trouble…
Yes, it’s the same as for Aurélien. Guillermo felt a little pain in his ankle, the same one that had caused him trouble in Strasbourg. It was really a change as a precaution. He told me at halftime that he didn’t feel 100%. We therefore brought in Benoît, who is a regular starter.
The international break is coming, will AS Monaco allow its players to join their teams?
We are watching the international situation carefully given the current health crisis. The matches in South America have been postponed, and we are waiting to see what happens in Europe, but nothing is set.
Metz is your opponent in the next round…
They will be a formidable opponent, they are a great team. We will have to go and fight for a victory. Metz are having a very good season, it will not be easy. We are also facing them in Ligue 1 before too long. It’s a very well organized team, I like to watch them play.
Do you regret not competing against amateur level teams?
No, not necessarily, as it’s never easy against this type of team. It’s always difficult to go and play them in small stadiums. They give everything, it’s the biggest game of their season. We have a lot to lose in these kinds of circumstances. But that’s the magic of the Coupe de France.