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Reactions 06 December 2020, 17:08

Niko Kovac: "The level of both teams was equal"

Niko Kovac: "The level of both teams was equal"
After four straight Ligue 1 victories, AS Monaco’s defeat at Lille was a disappointment for the Rouge et Blancs' coach, who nevertheless believed his side deserved a draw.

It’s the end of a run for Wissam Ben Yedder and his teammates. Back in AS Monaco’s starting lineup, after returning to competition against Nîmes, the captain of the Rouge et Blanc couldn’t help his side avoid defeat away to LOSC (2-1), on Matchday 13 in Ligue 1. It was a narrow defeat that created some frustration for Niko Kovac, as his team deserved a point from a draw according to him, in view of the two teams’ production. The Monaco manager shared his feelings at a post-match press conference. Extracts.

Do you have any regrets about the way the match went, that you came back into things too late?

When you lose, it’s always too late. But as you saw, Lille are a very good team and we conceded two goals on two big mistakes on our part. As I said before, when we are in the middle of the pitch, we cannot make such mistakes, otherwise it can become very dangerous. The first change came in the 57th minute I believe. At that point, we had plenty of time to be able to get back into the game, but we conceded the second goal shortly afterwards. Then we brought on two forwards, but unfortunately that was not enough. It was a very close, balanced game, which is difficult for me to analyze in the immediate aftermath. I think there were possibilities on both sides, but in the end with these two mistakes we lost.

 

We obviously know that Lille are a very good team, which played in the Champions League last year and which have qualified for the Europa League this season. They've built a great team, it's a really good team. I think they also have a lot of respect for us, off the back of what we've shown in the last four games where we've had four wins.
Niko KovacManager, AS Monaco

In the first half, it seemed that the two teams were sitting off each other …

I agree. I think both teams played with a lot of respect for each other. We obviously know that Lille are a very good team, which played in the Champions League last year and which have qualified for the Europa League this season. They’ve built a great team, it’s a really good team. I think they also have a lot of respect for us, off the back of what we’ve shown in the last four games where we’ve had four wins. That’s what I’m saying, for me we were very close. In the end there is only one goal on the scoreboard that separated us and in my head a draw would have been fairer, because there was nothing very spectacular, from one side or the other. Obviously when you lose a game like this you can only be disappointed.

What did you think of your midfield’s match?

I don’t want to talk about individual players. There were eleven players on the pitch. As I said, in the first half for me the level was equal between the two teams. This obviously wasn’t the game we wanted to see, we wanted to be more aggressive, pressure the opponents on the ball, keep the ball more and turn the game in our favor. But in the end that is not what happened. The performance was a collective effort, and the team was OK, but couldn’t make the difference on the scoreboard. So I just want to talk about the team.

Do you think that Wissam Ben Yedder paid physically for his lack of illness in recent weeks?

Of course. Every player who is affected by this disease needs time to come back to their best. Against Nîmes he came on for 30 minutes, today he almost played an hour. It is a recovery process that we are following to the letter with the medical staff. So I think it’s normal that he needs some time to physically recover.

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