One day, one goal! After winning a tactical battle against Peter Bosz’s OL on Saturday evening in the big match of the 23rd round of Ligue 1 (2-0), Philippe Clement is setting off again, ready to attack the Coupe de France with the Rouge et Blanc. Before facing Amiens in the quarterfinals this Tuesday at the Stade Louis-II (kick-off 9 p.m.), the Monegasque manager explained his state of mind to the media.
On a potential first Cup victory as a manager
I won it as an assistant (smiles)! It’s always rewarding to win trophies in one’s career, whether as a player or a coach, or even when you’re part of a staff. For me it’s the same thing. I won a Belgian Cup as assistant to Michel Preud’homme at Bruges and that is also significant in my opinion. A revenge for last year? Every season is a new adventure. When you lose a title, you learn, but it’s not enough to win it the following year. It is important not to repeat what you have done wrong. In any case, I want to look at the positives.
About tomrrow’s opponent, Amiens
We have to focus on our qualities, play our style of play, but also study this Amiens team well. The preparation for each match is the same for us, whatever the level of the team, and we watch how our opponent plays. They have a lot of strength up front, including a great striker, Aliou Badji who is good in the air, and another who is fast on the wing. There is also a player I know from Bruges, Formose Mendy, who was with the reserves last year. They will certainly play with five at the back, with three centre backs, so we will have to adapt.
Un 𝑸𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒕 𝒅𝒆 𝑭𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒍𝒆 🏆 et un match à la 𝑴𝒂𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒏 🏠 au programme cette semaine ! 👊💪
— Amiens SC (@AmiensSC) February 7, 2022
The risk of letting up
It’s a good test to see how the players react after this great victory against Lyon. Great teams and great players have to prove that no matter the game, the opponent and the competition, they show the same quality on the pitch. For me it was essential to look the players in the eye after this success in the league, to send them the message not to slack off. I think they understood, that’s what I felt at the time and in their training since.
The need to recover well
I have to manage everyone’s playing time. We saw that Guillermo (Maripán) finished the match with cramps on Saturday, as he was returning from international duty in La Paz in Bolivia, playing at more than 3000 meters above sea level. I need players who can go all out, so I’ll see what the squad is like. That’s why I have to look at who is ready to start this game. If you play for a month with the same players, the others are not ready for competition. That’s why it’s good to always give those who show good things in training a chance to show their qualities.
On the possibility of making changes
If you don’t play the youngsters, they can’t develop. I started Charles De Ketelaere in Bruges against PSG in the Champions League in his second professional match. I don’t give chances for the sake of doing so, but rather to support of what happens daily during training. I have to reward those who show they want to play. I want them to be able when they have the opportunity to show themselves. Maghnes Akliouche and Felix Lemarechal? They are with the squad on a daily basis. You have to look at when is the right time to throw them on and give them a chance, but they are good young players.
The choice of goalkeepers
Every game there are choices to be made. For me Alex (Nübel) is obviously number one. But the Coupe de France is a different competition and Vito (Mannone) had a great game in Lens, where he made a lot of saves. So I still have to think about who I’m going to start.
Another Coupe de France, 31 years later?
When we talk about it being a bonus to win a Cup, it seems we are talking about something that is not really important, which competition is on top. For me, all competitions are important, and I don’t want to establish a hierarchy across the three. I am here to win things, like I did in Genk or in Bruges. I want to do the maximum with the players I have at my disposal. But I also have to think about the development of young players. I not only have to win matches, but also to improve this squad. Some have to play to have their chance at the top level. I need to be able to easily switch from one to another. In any case, it is an additional motivation for the players, to know that AS Monaco has not won it for such a long time. Because if you win the Coupe de France, it’s an opportunity to write a page in the history of the Club.
On his compatriot, Eliot Matazo
He is a player with a lot of qualities, but who also has a very mentality. He is still very young, but has already proven, not just in one match but on several occasions, that he has what it takes to be able to play in midfield. He is in a position where there is a lot of competition, but he proves in each training session that he belongs here. When we extend a player’s contract, it’s not just to give him a gift, it’s because we believe in him. He still has things to improve upon, but he is on the right track.