Niko Kovac: "Show unwavering determination"
Finish well before the break. After Thursday’s draw against PSV Eindhoven (0-0), which allows AS Monaco to retain the lead in Group B of the Europa League, the Rouge et Blanc return to Ligue 1 action. The goal is to bounce back against Stade de Reims this Sunday (kick off at 3pm), after defeat against Brest last weekend, before the international break in November. This is what Niko Kovac expressed to the media.
On the changes compared to last season
Every day is a different day in football and obviously as this is a new season, some are things the same and some are not. It’s not just AS Monaco. I think all the time, even at night, trying to figure out why some things don’t work so well. Last season, our way of thinking and playing was more inherent, we developed our style of play without really thinking and played without restraint. Today we are asking ourselves too many questions. At the moment, I feel like my team is a bit stuck mentally; last season we played a lot more spontaneously.
How to get back to positive results
What is important, of course, is to find the path to success. To get results and to string together victories, you have to go step by step. We have to ask the question of how we find success? When you want to accomplish special things, that means simplifying things. You can’t complicate your life, you have to get to the point, to play simply again. This is the most important thing that needs to be changed. We have to make it easier for ourselves. We have to create more problems for our opponents, and be much more determined too. We have to get back to basics. Brest is a good example in terms of determination. They hadn’t won a game before they played us, they were in relegation trouble, and yet they put in the effort to beat us. Finding the things that we displayed last season is how we will win our matches.
On a return to fundamentals
Last season we were seen a bit as an outsider, while this season more is expected of us, as a favorite. I think it’s a process again for our young players, they are learning how to handle the motivation and the pace on their own, playing every three days. It’s totally different, playing once or twice a week. This is the highest level. As a coach and even at Club level, you don’t have a lot of time, to work with the players; I’m aware of that. We would like to be successful now, right away, but it’s not that easy. We have to get out of this situation. This is the first time that my players have faced this. But I’m sure this is a passage that will help them in their careers, to progress. It’s part of their development, part of their learning process.
On the difficulty of playing against a low block
Obviously it’s always difficult to play against teams that play like this. We don’t know how our opponent is going to play yet, but what I can say is that it’s going to take effort to get a result. I can accept that there are sometimes technical gaps. On the other hand, I want my players to play constantly with passion, with desire. This is the minimum required for me. And we have to show that every three days, every match. I expect unwavering determination from my players. Every match is difficult, especially against teams playing very defensively. If you play more on the front foot, it’s easier to defend and create attacking situations on the counter. And if you lose the ball that’s okay, but you have to put the pressure on right away, like we did last season. I want us to be in the thick of things.
À dimanche 🇲🇨👊 pic.twitter.com/eKHYP1g7Bv
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) November 5, 2021