Two days after arriving in the Principality and signing a contract with AS Monaco through June 2024, Philippe Clement gave his first impressions of the club to the media on Wednesday. At a press conference in the auditorium of the La Turbie Performance Center, the new coach of the Rouge et Blanc spoke about his career, and about the goals set by the Club.
An introductory word on the work of Niko Kovac
As a preamble, the Vice President and CEO, Oleg Petrov, wished to pay tribute to Niko Kovac for the team’s journey over the past 18 months. “It is never an easy decision and I want to take advantage of my presence here with you, to thank Niko and his staff for all the work accomplished during the last year-and-a-half. Niko contributed to the implementation of the first phase of our sporting project, and we are grateful because we will build on the work he has done, and of course we wish him the best for the future.”
It was an observation shared by the Monegasque Sporting Director, Paul Mitchell, who explained the decision to change managers. “We did a long analysis after the match against Rennes (2-1, December 22), and we studied the whole of the first part of the season, since the summer, and we concluded that we achieved not was not to the level we thought we could reach. We have not been the top five once this season, even though the strong support of shareholder Dmitry Rybolovlev kept us from losing key players last summer, which should have given us a head start, and to be efficient from the first round,” he said.
Philippe Clement, the right profile
Paul Mitchell then justified the appointment of the Belgian coach to lead the team: “I think Philippe’s profile is very clear. He worked at Club Brugge, where the strategy is quite similar to ours — knowing how to develop players who have lots of potential, and to foster a strong ambition to win. Club Brugge had also invested in its infrastructure, like us. We have the feeling that Philippe is the right coach to continue to advance our project. He has done this in Belgium, and not just at Bruges, and that shows that we are on the same wavelength.”
— Philippe Clement (@philippe_clemnt) January 3, 2022
It was a strong decision, but one which is in line with the Club’s desire to be a permanent fixture among the top places in Ligue 1 and to “perform well in Europe,” said Paul Mitchell. And this idea of an “intact ambition” hews perfectly to the profile of Philippe Clement, as Oleg Petrov had previously underlined in front of the thirty journalists present: “With Philippe, we have the desire to continue the work carried out within the club over the last 18 months. I don’t need to remind you that Philippe, although he is a young coach, has already won three Belgian league titles with two different clubs, which shows his quality. His ambitious state of mind, his profile, his experience as a coach and as a former international player, is consistent with the identity that we want to put in place here in Monaco. For all of these reasons, we believe that he is the right man to continue the development of our squad and of our players.”
The ambition to finish as high as possible
It’s a development which aims to regain the level of play and the results obtained in the second half of last season, as confirmed by the AS Monaco Sporting Director: “I think we have a very good squad now, with a strong potential. The team turned in a very impressive set of displays in the second half of last season, and we want to regain that. We are looking at profiles that could allow us to further improve the quality of this squad, and we have, moreover, already strengthened with the Brazilian attacking fullback Vanderson at the start of the transfer window. Once again, our ambition is to be a rival of the favorites and to finish as high as possible come the end of the season.”
— AS Monaco EN (@AS_Monaco_EN) January 5, 2022