It was an inevitably happy coach who presented himself at the post-match press conference. Niko Kovac looked back on his team’s win in the 99th Côte d’Azur derby.”I offer my congratulations to my players who played very good football, especially in the first thirty minutes when we were close to perfection,” he said.
Coach, it’s a first derby and first victory, this is a good start…
Indeed! It’s been a few years since AS Monaco won in Nice, so it’s a great satisfaction for the team and the supporters. I offer my congratulations to my players who played very good football, especially in the first 30 minutes when we were close to perfection. We were able to create a lot of opportunities for ourselves and logically managed to open the scoring. I think this victory is deserved. We now have this international break to rest and prepare for the match against Paris.
Is there any regret over not having been able to seal the result earlier in the match?
It is true that we could certainly have been more decisive earlier in this match but that is part of the learning process. We were good in the area,, but unfortunately we were unlucky because we hit the woodwork three times and had several other clear chances through Wissam (Ben Yedder), Pietro (Pellegri) and Willem (Geubbels).
Can you explain the choice to start Vito Mannone?
I had to pick a new goalkeeper following the injury to Benjamin Lecomte. I made this choice because Vito offers more guarantees in terms of his experience compared to Radoslaw who is a young goalkeeper, and we have a central defence which is already very young with Benoît (Badiashile) and Axel (Disasi). He may have made a small mistake conceding the goal, but we must especially dwell tonight on the many good things that we have done rather than this part of the match, especially since there may have been an offside on the play.
For the second time in a row, you’ve chosen to field a 4-4-2 — we can imagine that you are once again satisfied with the result.
When you see your opponent switching to another system to protect themselves, that’s a good sign. I am satisfied this evening because once again we had a very compact midfield and knew how to play with aggression and intensity. With the exception of the match against Rennes, I think we have always had possession of the ball. All in all, I’m very happy, because you can’t expect to come and play in Nice, who are playing in the Europa League, to dominate the whole game. We have conceded only one chance to our opponents in the last two games, it is a sign that we are progressing, both on the defensive side of things and offensively.