Philippe Clement: "Have more consistency in our concentration"
“There is no easy opponent in Ligue 1”. This phrase often comes out of the mouths of players, and coaches, who are called upon to speak in front of journalists. And that’s exactly what Philippe Clement had on his mind as he prepared the team for a tricky trip to Nantes this Sunday (kick-off 5:05 p.m.). This is what he expressed to the media two days before the match…
On Nantes’ form
We have a lot of respect for Nantes, who proved this week by qualifying for the final of the Coupe de France that they are a good team. It is even a surprise for me to see that they are not higher in the table, because there have been few changes since last season, apart from the departure of Kolo Muani. But it’s a team that has also played in Europe, and when you’re not used to it, it’s sometimes difficult to play every three days. It is also something that we had to work on here in Monaco with the young players.
Direction le Stade de France.
📼 C'est le film de notre qualification en finale. pic.twitter.com/Bs4Q4aRwRG
— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) April 6, 2023
The team’s daily work
I’m focused on us, I don’t ask myself whether this qualification puts them in a position of strength or not. I am very happy with today’s training, where there was a lot of commitment, quality. But that has to translate into a match, because we’re not competing to be world champions in training. Against Strasbourg there were a few slack moments and I have the feeling that we can be more consistent over the duration of a match.
Managing the highs and lows
We have had some very good spells in recent months, we must not forget that. But I hope that on Sunday my players will show what they did today in training. Having to manage highs and lows is the lot of all teams. We have a very young squad and it takes mental strength to strive for more consistency in our concentration, in good and bad times.
Against Strasbourg, things were good the first 20 minutes, then we lowered our level of attention, which resulted in conceding two goals from set pieces. These are lessons for young players.
On the competition for the podium
As I already said after Strasbourg, today we have 13 points more in the table than we did last season at the same time. The play of Marseille and Lens shows that there is also more consistency in the performance of all of the teams. Last season we might have finished second with our current form. But it’s important not to calculate and to take the matches one by one. If the other teams win all their matches, it will be impossible to get back into the top 3.
But if there should be a moment of weakness, we will be ready. But it is also good that we are in the shadows, so we can work with less pressure. What else do we have to our advantage? Our youth. As for the rest of it, the truth will be told on the pitch. We were seventh last year at the same time. I want to see ambitious players, who want to show their qualities and their progress, but above all a winning mentality.
The need to be aggressive
Football is not only a game that is played with one’s feet and the ball, but it is also a lot of work without the ball, even more so with aerial duels. Offensively we have grown a lot in that area, when you look at the stats on set pieces compared to last season. But we still have to improve defensively in the air.
On giving time to young players
There are a lot of coaches who don’t like giving minutes to young players too quickly. But for me, when they show good things in training, they can have a chance in matches. It has been the case with Eliesse (Ben Seghir) since the end of December, but also with Edan (Diop) now.
Youngsters are sometimes nervous about their first minutes, but not them. This is the heart of the AS Monaco project, developing talents from the Academy. Despite everything, nowadays it is very important to show one’s personality in football. And they do it every time they have the chance to show off.
🆕 Premier but en @Ligue1UberEats pour le jeune Edan Diop !#MadeInLaDiagonale #MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/oMPdl2JP0M
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) April 3, 2023
The impact of the Monaco bench
This shows the solidarity that there is in this squad, more than the quality. The fact that the substitutes can be decisive proves that the players are ready to play all the time and that they live for the team. No one is disappointed when he doesn’t start or is concerned when he’s on the bench. Because when you’re not in the game and you have to replace someone at short notice, you can’t do well if you aren’t thinking collectively. It shows that we are thinking about the team first and foremost. And when there is success at the end, it is a reward for everyone.
It’s even more difficult to come on during the match, because you have to be ready to go right away. Scoring goals off the bench (12 in Ligue 1 with 7 assists), it shows that we are thinking about the team above all else. And when we have success, it is a reward for everyone.
𝗠𝗼’ 𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗮 👉 𝗞𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗶𝗻 𝗗𝗶𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗮
Un deuxième but pour sceller le score du match 🔝🇸🇳#MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/ZhaYzuQDpl
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) March 20, 2023