Philippe Clement: "We mustn't betray our philosophy of play"
Seal the result on the back of the win at the BayArena. After a crazy game in the first leg in Germany (a 2-3 win), AS Monaco’s players want to seal qualification this Thursday against Bayer Leverkusen at the Stade Louis-II (Thursday, 6:45 p.m.). But to continue their European adventure, Philippe Clement knows that it will be necessary to play a serious match. This is what he explained in the pre-match press conference this afternoon.
A lead from the first leg
It doesn’t change anything for me that we won, because it’s just a one-goal advantage (the away goal rule is no longer in force, editor’s note). We have to play our game, our football, to win this game. When you calculate too much, you do not play well. If we have scored so much and so often (34 consecutive matches in Ligue 1, editor’s note), it’s also because we haven’t changed our philosophy. We can change the system during a match, we have done it for the last 2-3 months, but the philosophy remains the same.
On rotation in central defense
As Axel (Disasi) said, we have been training for several months already with Malang. With daily work, there is therefore a lot of automation. I also try to form different partnerships on a daily basis, so that there are more connections between all the players. It is important for communication.
Focus sur les deux grosses échéances de cette semaine 👊
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Malang has the opportunity to show his qualities with the absence of Guillermo. There is a lot of competition in the squad, and at the start of the season it was more difficult, because Benoît, Axel and Memo were performing very well. I sometimes had headaches because of this (smile)! But it’s a good thing for the team that there are so many options in all positions.
What Kevin Volland can offer
Kevin has already shown with us in the past that he can play behind the striker in the 4-2-3-1. He works hard for the team, even without the ball. He is a different type of player than Eliesse, Golo’ or Taki’. But he proved that he was efficient in this position with AS Monaco. He’s had a few minor physical issues lately, but he feels better now. On the other hand, with a prolonged absence, he cannot play 90 minutes. We will take our time to get him back some playing time.
🏅 Monaco's hat-trick hero Kevin Volland wins Player of the Week 👏@hankookreifen | #UELPOTW | #UEL pic.twitter.com/Ubm7SaTkSi
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On the fixture list
Of course we are ready! I want winners, and to see players who give their all every day, from the warm-up. We cannot put aside a competition because we think we will be tired in a few weeks. We have a squad to be able to play both competitions.
If we play all year to be in Europe, we can’t say that we stop playing in the Europa League because that’s too many games. I hope that there will still be European matches on the program this season, on the contrary. I will never stop working for any competition over a question of the fixtures.
Managing the squad before the Derby
No, I won’t make tomorrow’s team based on the Derby. There are players who came up here, and who have proven that they can be ready to play on Thursday and Sunday. It is thanks to the development of their work in recent months that this is possible. It was the same when I was a player, I was obviously more comfortable after 2-3 seasons with European matches. You can be a player able to perform every three days.
On knockout matches
There is a big difference between the performances against Eindhoven and Rodez, even if each time the challenge was qualification. In any case, there are no traces of these matches. These are lessons that we all learned together to handle certain situations differently from now on. We can grow as a team, having positive experiences, but even more so with setbacks!
It is through this that you can become a great team. You have to be ready in all the details, and sometimes have a little luck. But there is a lot more maturity and leadership in this group now, with players such as Axel. We have worked a lot on that. The inspiration for us is Real Madrid, a team that has experienced players helping to lead young talent.
LIVE 🎙️ Conférence de presse avant AS Monaco – Bayer Leverkusen 🔴⚪️ (16e de finale UEFA Europa League) https://t.co/CBA6od5CNW
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) February 22, 2023