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Team 30 November 2021, 18:48

Niko Kovac: "We need a win"

Niko Kovac: "We need a win"
On the eve of a trip to Angers (kick off 7 p.m.), as part of the 16th round of Ligue 1, the Monegasque manager spoke at a press conference, to discuss the need to get back to winning ways.

Victory and nothing else. After three straight draws in Ligue 1 against Reims, Lille and Strasbourg, this Sunday the Rouge et Blanc need a top-flight win. Currently ninth in the league, Niko Kovac’s players are looking to this trip to Angers on Wednesday (kick-off at 7 p.m. on Prime Video), to win three points which would allow a move up the standings. This was confirmed by the Monaco coach, who despite everything is wary of Le SCO, who sit sixth before Matchday 16.

On the desire to find success

We know our record of late in Ligue 1 (four matches without a win). We are going to face Angers, a team that is currently doing well with a coach who has implemented his philosophy, with great ideas. Last season, we had a difficult match there, with a superb goal from Wissam at the end of the match giving us the victory (1-0). They have had two more days for recovery than us, which must be taken into account. We are on a big run of games, it’s our third in a week. But we need a win of course, just as we did before the last round. It’s good to say this at a press conference, but the truth is told on the pitch and only on the pitch.

On rotation in the starting eleven

I only changed two players against Strasbourg compared to the eleven I sent out against Real Sociedad, where there had been five. The reality is that we are playing every three days and we have to rotate the squad to avoid fatigue and injury. You have to try to find a little freshness. You can’t play every game at this pace every three days without changing the team a bit. Everyone wants to play and deserves to play with the hard work they are doing in training. These are the choices I have to make.

I think Jean probably had his best two games with us against Real Sociedad and Strasbourg, where he worked really well, both defensively and offensively. He is getting better and better in terms of finding his bearings on the pitch.
Niko KovacManager, AS Monaco

The development of Jean Lucas

I spoke with him yesterday because he took the same sort of knock twice in the match, but he told me everything was fine. He will be available for tomorrow. I think Jean probably had his best two games with us against Real Sociedad and Strasbourg, where he worked really well, both defensively and offensively. He is getting better and better in terms of finding his bearings on the pitch. It always takes time to adapt to a new context. Now he’s starting to perform, so he has to keep this going. Jean is able to play in several positions (6, 8, 10), and is very comfortable and calm with the ball at his feet. He has a natural aggressiveness, which is very important for winning the ball back, especially in the heart of midfield. He brings a new sort of profile to our squad, and I like it when there is more competition in the squad, so I’m glad to have him here.

On the need for confidence for the attackers

Kevin may not have scored as many goals as he did last season. But I also remember that he was responsible for winning the penalty on Sunday, and that he has already had several assists (six in all competitions). What impressed me is that he’s a very smart player. He always knows what to do on the pitch, with or without the ball. Regarding Myron, he’s a bit like Jean, he needs time to show his qualities, as I said before. It’s never easy to start when you have Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland in front of you. He had two chances at the end of the game against Strasbourg, and that’s what is important for a striker. We know his qualities, and we know that sometimes forwards need a little time to get acclimated. When that breakthrough comes, I’m sure he’ll go on a goalscoring run.

On the system of play

When we’re playing against five-man defenses, it’s never easy to attack with numbers. Our ambition is to create an overload in the final third, and to attack with more players. For this it is important to make changes and vary the ways in which we play. If the opponents are playing with one striker, there is no need for us to play with three defenders. Our players have to adapt to each way of playing, so that they can more easily switch between systems and between one or two different attacking approaches.

The draw in the Coupe de France against Red Star

I know that last season Lyon only qualified after a penalty shoot-out against this team. They regularly perform well in the Coupe de France. They are playing in National, and even if they are not in a good position right now (15th), they will give everything against us. It’s going to be a Cup game, they’ll give it their all, so I’m expecting a tough fight.

Rise. Risk. Repeat.

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