Niko Kovac: "The first half was very good"
Following what was a frustrating draw given the character of the match, Niko Kovac gave his impressions of the result. Dominant throughout against FC Nantes (15 shots attempted against 5 for the visitors and 75% possession), the Rouge et Blanc could not manage to do better than draw 1-1, in the first round of league play. After the match, Niko Kovac spoke to the media, wanting to emphasize the positives four days before the return leg of the third preliminary round of the Champions League.
Good evening Niko. Is this a disappointing point?
Of course we had hoped for a victory, but the other team did too. They only had one chance and made it count. For our part, we had a lot of chances without being able to score more. We’re a little disappointed, but that’s football. We started off the same way last season (2-2 against Reims), and now we must move forward.
The team showed two different sides to its play — is this due to their physical level?
No, it’s not a physical problem. From my point of view, we are at the top in that aspect of things. The first half was very good. In the second half, Nantes sat deep and defended very well. We played too much in the center of the park instead of playing on the flanks, looking for Caio in particular. But I saw some really good things in the first half.
Did Myron lack a bit of understanding with his teammates in his first game?
First of all, I want to say that I am happy with the performances of Jean and Myron. Jean had a very good match, in line with his pre-season with Lyon. Myron needs time;he’s only just arrived. In 4 days, we are playing against Sparta. Wissam and Kevin only have two weeks of training — you have to strike a balance to avoid injury. It was a good idea to give them some playing time to acclimatize. I saw some good things. They can still do better but for a first match, I’m happy to have seen them in action.
What was Wissam’s reaction to starting on the bench?
He knows he can’t be at 100% like other players with only two weeks of preason. He can’t play 90 minutes yet, and we have a good squad like last season, with plenty of competition. So he doesn’t have to be angry. It’s the start of the season. Lots of matches are yet to come. It’s okay to start the players who are more fresh, especially as the temperatures are hot.
Is it frustrating to concede a goal from a corner?
Yes it is frustrating. It is even more so when the opponent did not have many chances otherwise. It’s more frustrating to concede a goal from a set piece than from a well-constructed bit of play, but we have to accept it. Last season we didn’t concede a lot of goals in these phases of the game. Mistakes can happen, and sometimes they can cost you a goal, at other times not. We had plenty of possession and we created chances for ourselves. We will have a better result next time.
What do you think of the potential arrival of Lionel Messi to PSG?
This is good for Ligue 1. It would allow the league to improve further and give itself better exposure with the best player in the world. Of course, they will be even harder to beat. But the idea of seeing him play in Ligue 1 pleases me.
What did you think of the fans’ return to the Stade Louis-II?
It was a great pleasure to see our supporters again. Football is different sport with and without the fans, and it warmed our hearts to see them. The players want to show their quality in front of the spectators. Hopefully things will continue this way, with even bigger crowds in the weeks to come.