Niko Kovac: "I want to congratulate my players"
AS Monaco continue their unbeaten start to 2021. At the end of a big match against Paris Saint-Germain, the Rouge et Blanc of Niko Kovac found the necessary ingredients to record a massive win at the Parc des Princes (0-2). It was a result obtained thanks to goals from Sofiane Diop and Guillermo Maripán, who found the net at the start of each of the two halves. Read the post-match reaction from the Monegasque coach, after a match which bore his tactical imprint.
Good evening Niko. How did you prepare for this match?
We prepared for it like all the others. We wanted to limit Kylian Mbappe. Axel and Sofiane did their jobs very well, preventing them from finding space. We knew that PSG were going to have plenty of possession. We wanted to play on the counter. I would like to highlight the work of the team during these 90 minutes. The team played with passion, that’s the key to victory. This result is deserved.
You kept a clean sheet tonight…
I watched the game against Barcelona on Tuesday in order to make use of it. Without making any comparisons, we defended very well, it was hard to break our lines tonight. We were compact and very well organized. I think the key was not to concede a goal tonight, at least as few as possible. It’s obviously easier to win a match if we can keep a clean sheet. I want to congratulate my players.
You want to qualify for the European places. The goal remains the same despite tonight’s result?
No nothing changes, even if it is a legitimate question. In my opinion, as I said before, we are on the right track, the group is progressing. I am very satisfied and very happy with our current situation. We are not yet up to the level of LOSC and Lyon. Our ambition is to put distance between ourselves and fifth and sixth. There are still more than ten matches left, it’s too early to talk about anything. We will try our luck if an opportunity arises at the end of the season.
Why did you decide to start Axel Disasi ahead of Djibril Sidibé?
It’s very easy to answer that. Axel is an excellent player. He has been playing less at the moment because Guillermo is in good form and has played well in central defense. We know the qualities of Kylian Mbappé, he is a world-class player. Axel was able to hinder him physically but also to use his speed, one of his best attributes. This decision was the right one in the end, he performed very well.
The Monegasque bench is as impressive as the starting XI. Krépin Diatta can also bring something to this team.
He arrived from Bruges a month ago now. He’s needed a little time to adapt and get to know the way we play better. He is able to defend and play in different positions. We need all the players. He has a lot of technical qualities, and he does a lot of defensive work on top of that. He can even play as a wingback — it’s necessary to have players of this quality on your bench if you want to be competitive.
You are two points away from PSG. Lille is the league leader, four points ahead of them, the division is tight…
You know this, but it’s the same in England. In general, Paris has been far ahead at this time of the season. It’s very tight and interesting for everyone. I hope it will continue like this until the end of the season, it’s exciting. It is in the interest of Ligue 1, because there is not only one team that is dominating the league.