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Media 12 August 2021, 17:41

Niko Kovac: "All of our Ligue 1 matches are important"

Niko Kovac: "All of our Ligue 1 matches are important"
Two days after qualifying for the Champions League playoffs and on the eve of facing Lorient in their second league match of the season, the Croatian manager gave a pre-match press conference.

It’s time for Ligue 1 again. After a winning start to the Champions League in the third preliminary round against Sparta Prague (3-1), AS Monaco return to Ligue 1 action this Friday (9pm) with a trip to Lorient. After a draw against Nantes to open their league campaign, (1-1), Niko Kovac’s men will want to record a first win at the Stade du Moustoir, being careful not to minimize this match despite their clash with Shakhtar Donetsk scheduled for next Tuesday. It was with this in mind that the Croatian coach spoke to the press ahead of tomorrow’s match.

Recovery is very important. We've set up a protocol so that the players can recover well between matches. This requires a good diet and good hydration. The players also need to sleep well. There are a lot of young players in our squad who don't yet have the experience for this. We must then advise them on how to keep themselves in good shape.
Niko KovacManager, AS Monaco

Recovery between matches

Recovery is very important. We’ve set up a protocol so that the players can recover well between matches. This requires a good diet and good hydration. The players also need to sleep well. There are a lot of young players in our squad who don’t yet have the experience for this. We must then advise them on how to keep themselves in good shape.

An update on Aleksandr Golovin

Aleksandr is fine and will be available against Lorient. It was important to make changes during the game. There is a difference when a player plays 60 or 90 minutes, and I need to give all the players playing time and also allow them to recover well.

 

Rotating the side against Lorient

As I have said several times, I work in stages. And Lorient is the first step. Last season, we had two difficult games against this team. It will therefore be necessary to be ready to go. I will certainly rotate some players according to the form of each, but I am not looking at the Shakhtar match yet. I prefer to focus on Lorient because all Ligue 1 matches are important. We need a good result and to win.

The importance of Guillermo Maripán

He is an important player for us. When he entered the rotation last season, he contributed to the team by being a commanding presence in defense. But we have to go step by step without taking any risks.

Sofiane Diop’s contributions

He’s able to play in three positions and does a really good job. However, he still has to work hard to continue its development. His start to the season has been very positive and he has come back well after a minor ankle injury. With the fixture list being what it is, there will be a lot of rotation, like Lille did last season, so as to give playing time to the entire squad.

 

We've worked a lot to be able to play every three days. Last season, we were able to work on the principles of our play. This year, there is less time for that but the new players have picked up the pace. We like playing every three days because we like to travel, to play in beautiful stadiums and to play high-stakes matches.
Niko KovacManager, AS Monaco

The fixture list

We’ve worked a lot to be able to play every three days. Last season, we were able to work on the principles of our play. This year, there is less time for that but the new players have picked up the pace. We like playing every three days because we like to travel, to play in beautiful stadiums and to play high-stakes matches. That’s why we do this job.

Facing teams that sit deep

It’s true that a lot of teams play with five at the back. These sides are built on defending very well and playing on the counter, like Nantes or Lorient. Lorient is a good team on the counter and at set pieces. We are aware of this and we will have to face up to this. We will give the right tools to the players in order to find solutions against teams playing with a low block.

 

Rise. Risk. Repeat.

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