The Rouge et Blancs remain undefeated at Stade Louis-II this season. Niko Kovac’s side came back with authority, delivering a veritable festival of attacking football against Girondins de Bordeaux (4-0), on the 9th Matchday in Ligue 1. For their fifth match of the season at home, the teammates of Kevin Volland, scorer of a double were seeking their fourth win in the top flight. It was a result which inevitably delighted the Monegasque coach.
Coach, do you think this performance is a benchmark for your team?
Yeah, I think it’s a benchmark game. We are happy with this victory and this match. Success has been eluding us in the last few games and I felt like it was the other way around tonight. I’m happy for the four goals we scored, but also because we didn’t concede. This is very important because it highlights the work being done by the defense and the goalkeeper. I find that the goals scored tonight are just the fruit of the work being done in training week after week, and moreover, they are very beautiful goals.
Did you find the right system tonight with this 4-4-2?
It’s true that tonight we played in a slightly different way with two defensive midfielders. Kevin and Wissam put in a great performance. When Kevin played deep, Wissam dropped into midfield. In the end, Wissam scored and Kevin scored twice. If we see that it’s working, we will indeed be able to deploy this system again.
What was your thinking with this change compared to the match at Lyon?
Tonight, we had two number 9s, supported by Gelson who is more of a striker than Sofiane. Previously we had played in 4-3-3 with wingers who cut in a lot. Tonight we had two number 9s and Gelson playing in support. He has more attacking characteristics than Sofiane Diop. I noticed that Wissam needed more support which Kevin provided. He had already shown great things in the past in this kind of system. We also have Pietro who can make a contribution in terms of build-up play.
How did you see the first goal, with a penalty after a late whistle when Wissam Ben Yedder had scored?
I spoke to the fourth official and asked him how was it possible to blow the whistle when the play was not over. In the end, Wissam scored so we won’t talk about it anymore and all is well. If he hadn’t scored, I might have been more of a bother, but all’s well that ends well.
Did the first half against Lyon ultimately do you good?
I saw very good things in Lyon, I said that during the last press conference. The main problem was after the loss of the ball we left the opponent too much space. Likewise when there was no pressure, we had to track back, something that was not done well. We worked on it and there was a real reaction tonight. That’s a good thing, we got the right reaction after doing a good job this week. My players are learning as they go, today it went well for them, but we are working hard to allow them to progress. Something interesting happened today, especially considering that Bordeaux had only conceded five goals in eight games since the start of the season and let in four of them tonight.
Has Kevin Volland finally got his season on track?
Sure, Kevin is getting better and better. Kevin finished the season very late with Bayer Leverkusen, who were in the Europa League quarterfinal against Inter Milan. He arrived a little late, he hadn’t had a full preseason with us. He needed time. He’s not 100% yet but I hope he will reach his best form quickly, maybe after the international break. I have great confidence in him, I’m sure he will help the team this season.
How did you find Caio Henrique’s first start?
I’m glad Caio got to play 90 minutes. He couldn’t play for over six months, he came in injured, and it was a good opportunity to show himself. He is progressing day by day. Certainly he still needs time to be 100% physically ready. He needs time. He has good technical quality, he is calm and showed good things during this match. He’s going to get up to speed but we have to give him time. I am satisfied with his performance on the day.
And the substitute appearance of Pietro Pellegri?
Pietro is also improving, he is very strong physically and represents the future. He has to learn and he learns every day in training, he’s invested in it. When a coach sees his players working so hard in training and can give them some playing time, he is happy to do so. I hope he will continue like this.
What will you have to say to the team so that there is no let-up before the derby?
Today was a very good test for us. Scoring three goals in one half is a great achievement, but I told my players at the break to stay in the game and keep their concentration high. This is also a part of the idea of learning that I want to instill in my players. Here too it is important to continue working on this. Next week there will be the derby, keeping our concentration high is important.
What are the reasons for Badiashile and Aguilar’s exits?
Ruben had a yellow card and he was disappointed because he will not be able to play in the match against PSG. Djibril was available and is a very good player, so I decided to give him some playing time. I didn’t want to risk Ruben getting a second yellow card. Regarding Benoît, he had a little pain in his leg and I didn’t want to take the slightest risk because the score was what it was (4-0). Once again my players are working hard in training day in and day out and Guillermo had the opportunity to play 20 minutes. We have to grow together and it’s important to be able to count on everyone. We need to ramp up our play as a team.
In the end, is it an advantage for you not to not be playing in Europe, with the repetition of matches?
PSG players play all the time, this is true with the Champions League, Ligue 1, and international matches because most of their players are there. It could be an advantage for us it’s true, we are preparing our team for it and physically we are in good shape and that is why we are in top among teams who run the most. We are fortunate to have no injuries other than Golovin’s, no more red cards, and that’s important. We are trying to preserve all of that and we are working on it. If we have all our players available, that could actually be an advantage. But Lille, OM, OL also have very good squads. In any case, we will fight and do our best. We will have to fight this season.
Read Youssouf Fofana‘s reaction after this evening’s win.