Niko Kovac: "To give the best of ourselves for the Derby"
Objective: a second league victory this season. This is the goal for AS Monaco’s players before the shortest trip of the year, to OGC Nice for the 6th round of Ligue 1. Before heading to the Allianz Riviera to play the 101st Cote d´Azur derby in Ligue 1 this Sunday (1pm), Niko Kovac spoke to the media about the importance of this crucial match, wanting necessarily to build on the momentum started against Sturm Graz in the Europa League this Thursday (1-0 victory).
On the importance of the Derby
The Derby is always an important match for the Club, for the players but obviously also for the supporters. I saw that last season when I arrived at the Club. We want to give the best of ourselves to win what is a crucial match, even if it will be a difficult match because Nice are in good form. It’s also important for us, after the Europa League victory against Sturm Graz, to start a positive run of form.
His respect for Christophe Galtier
When I arrived he sent me a welcome message, it was nice. He’s a good person, besides being a good coach with a good mentality. Last season we were competing for the title, but when we fell out of the running, I wished him luck. We are adversaries during the match, but above all we are human beings.
On Nice’s attacking threat
I think they’ve changed their style from last season. Before, they liked to keep the ball, to have possession. Today I think they’re more of a counterattacking team. They have made a lot of progress individually. They work as a team and I think they have improved on this side of things. There are some very good players in this team, like Amine Gouiri, Kasper Dolberg — who is showing his abilities more and more, and Justin Kluivert as well. Today Nice are in a better position than we are, but a derby is a derby and you can never tell what is going to happen.
On the subject of improving the attack
It’s always a question of the collective. We have to help our attackers to put them in the best possible positions and in good positions to score. At the moment the small differences have not gone in our favor. But that will change in my opinion. Our forwards have great quality, they just need confidence, but it will come with the support of the whole team. We must all work together. And then we have to get into the penalty area in numbers, to be able to score more goals.
💨 Ce crochet de Golovin
⛑ Ce coup de casque de @DiattaKrepin
𝟭-𝟬 ⌁ #UEL I #ASMSTU pic.twitter.com/Rt94omgeoY
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) September 17, 2021
His take on the development of Caio Henrique
I am very happy with him. He got started a little late last season after contracting COVID, and then had a small physical issue. But I think after the match against Dijon he started to gain momentum. He’s a very smart player tactically. He is very involved offensively and has provided a lot of assists. The only thing I can say is that he hasn’t scored so far. (smiles) I really think he has the ability to finish a move, so for me he can improve in that area. He’s a wonderful person in human terms, so I’m very happy to have him with us, and I’m very happy with his performances. He’s managed to maintain the same level as last season.