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Reactions 03 April 2021, 16:55

Niko Kovac: "I want to say well done to my players"

Niko Kovac: "I want to say well done to my players"
At the end of AS Monaco's third victory in four games against Metz (4-0), marked by yet another clean sheet, the Monegasque tactician showed up with a broad smile at the post-match press conference.

At the end of a second half that his side completely controlled, Niko Kovac and his Rouge et Blanc had recorded another massive win in the first of two matches in three days against Les Grenats (4-0) in the Principality. It was win that came thanks to goals from Cesc Fàbregas, Kevin Volland, and a double from Wissam Ben Yedder. Here is the reaction of the Monegasque coach, who was obviously satisfied with yet another win, the 19th of the season for AS Monaco.

I know we are provisionally third but we must not get excited. There are 7 matches to play and 21 points left to distribute. Winning was our goal today. There is nothing more to say.
Niko Kovac Manager, AS Monaco

Hello Niko. You are getting closer to the leading teams. The gap is now closed, can we now talk about the title?

(Smile) No we can’t. We are not yet sure of securing fourth place. I know we are provisionally third but we must not get excited. There are 7 matches to play and 21 points left to distribute. Winning was our goal today. There is nothing more to say.

You decided to start Stevan Jovetić in place of Wissam Ben Yedder. Why?

It was not easy to make this decision. Some are disappointed and others happy with my choices. Jove’ played very well against Saint-Etienne and for his national team, where he scored three goals over the break. He was good today too. He was the one who got the first penalty. We have a quality bench, which is good for the group. They are goal scorers, they are thirsty for goals, it’s good for us.

You gave Wissam a little pat on the back when he came on. What did you tell him?

I didn’t tell him anything special. I know he was disappointed to start on the bench. I told him to have fun during that half hour of play, and I think he responded with his two goals.

Yes, as I said two days ago that Eliot works hard in training and that all his sessions are taken with a lot of determination. He set up Kevin's goal, he was the one who provided the assist. I'm happy with his performance, he played 75 minutes. It's not easy to play at this intensity when you have so little playing time.
Niko Kovac Manager, AS Monaco

Eliot Matazo performed well in the absence of Aurélien Tchouameni…

Yes, as I said two days ago that he works hard in training and that all his sessions are taken with a lot of determination. He set up Kevin’s goal, he was the one who provided the assist. I’m happy with his performance, he played 75 minutes. It’s not easy to play at this intensity when you have so little playing time.

Metz still gave you problems in the first half in particular…

It’s not easy to get past the Metz defense, they played a very low block. We had to keep the ball better and avoid losing it too easily as we had done in the first half. The relationship between Axel and Guillermo? Guillermo may not have been at his best today. Axel played well in the second half. The small changes at halftime allowed us to impose ourselves on the match.

Do you think there was a penalty on Stevan Jovetić?

I haven’t seen the images. We’ll talk about that next time if you want. We dominated the game, Benjamin Lecomte had a save to make and he did. On our side we have created 7 or 8 chances. I want to say well done to my players.

We are in a good run of form at the moment. As you know, everything can change very quickly in football. We need to stay focused, we know we can do more. We must continue to play this way and not take the easy way out.
Niko Kovac Manager, AS Monaco

Do you feel unstoppable at the moment?

We are in a good run of form at the moment. As you know, everything can change very quickly in football. We need to stay focused, we know we can do more. We must continue to play this way and not take the easy way out. We play again against Metz this Tuesday in the Cup. It will be another match. There are seven Ligue 1 matches left, and we will continue like this.

You are now on five clean sheets in the last six meetings. AS Monaco have scored a lot of goals but haven’t been conceding many…

Benjamin made a magnificent save in the first half. This helps build confidence, both in him and in the defense. We are happy with this latest clean sheet, and we must continue in this way. The season is not over.

Rise. Risk. Repeat.

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