He’s only lost twice in his career coaching in domestic cups. This second defeat came, like the first one, in a final, a span of 26 games, with each loss coming against the best team in the country. This is why Niko Kovac wanted to put the defeat in the Coupe de France final against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday (0-2) into perspective. The Monegasque manager spoke of pride in having reached this stage of the competition at a post-match press conference
Good evening Niko. We haven’t seen the real Monaco tonight. Is that your feeling too?
First, I want to congratulate Paris Saint-Germain on their title. I think in the first few minutes we were a little scared. It was our first final with this group. Paris has a great level of experience in this kind of match. I think we had a little too much respect for this team in the first few minutes. In the rhythm, it was not at the level of what we have shown recently.
It was obviously not the best final I have seen in my life either. We played better after concecding, but I think this loss is part of our process tonight. When I lost my first Cup final in Germany, I said I wanted to come back the next year with a winning spirit; this is what we will do.
What did you say to your players in the locker room after the loss?
I told them we could be proud to have reached this final here at the Stade de France against PSG. In football, you can only miss a penalty if you earn the chance to take it, and you can only lose a final if you play it. It was an important moment for us, for the Club. We have the right to be disappointed tonight and to be disappointed tomorrow, but starting Friday we will have to think about the next game. We have to move on to the next game now. We can still end this season in a fantastic way.
You said before the game that Kylian Mbappé was the greatest danger. The match did not do much to disprove you…
As I said yesterday, Kylian Mbappé is for me the best player in the world, and this final changed thanks to him tonight. He took advantage of a mistake on our part on the first goal, he hit the bar and on the second goal he scored with a superb finish. He has delivered a superb performance tonight. That’s why so many clubs want him. We had had the luck to limit him, but we don’t have it anymore.
Did Wissam Ben Yedder come off injured?
We have an important game on Sunday, the result was 1-0 when he came off, we had some really good players on the bench, that’s why he came out. He’s doing well, and we’ll need him to reach our goal on Sunday.
What did you say to Axel Disasi to console him?
We are a united team. We win and we lose together. I got that message across at halftime. Axel may have made a mistake tonight, but we can’t blame him. Mistakes are part of football. Today the small details and luck were not on our side, and we must accept this defeat, clear our heads and hope for a victorious end to the season.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) May 19, 2021