On to the Coupe! After two straight victories in Ligue 1 following the resumption of the competition, the Rouge et Blanc are preparing to switch their focus to the Coupe de France. So before facing Rodez Aveyron at the Stade Louis-II this Saturday (kick-off 6 p.m.), Philippe Clement gave an update on the objectives of this match at a press conference.
The team’s goals in the Coupe de France
I think all clubs have high expectations in this competition. At the end, there is a trophy to be won, but there can only be one winner. In each round, you have to be very concentrated, because there are often surprises in the Coupe de France. This is why we should only think of Rodez and not plan now for the next rounds.
Could this match be a trap?
I always want to win, and I have respect for all opponents, because each team has specific qualities, strengths and weaknesses. We have to be focused on ourselves, as I often say. I want to see an AS Monaco that is focused on its performance, whether it’s Rodez, Auxerre or Paris Saint-Germain we’re playing. I see that my squad is more and more receptive to this. There is more and more concentration against teams that are ranked lower. It’s up to us to prove that again this weekend.
Rodez’s style of play
They are a team that plays with five players at the back, three midfielders and two forwards. They are a physical team, so they can be dangerous on set pieces. They also have two wingbacks who are very dynamic in the transitions. As for the rest, I’m keeping it for my players as we prepare for the match (smiles).
What Thomas Didillon brings to the team
Last year we had three goalkeepers who wanted to be number one. This season, things are a little different. Thomas’ role here is to be ready in case he needs to start a match. Yann (Lienard), he is there to learn from his two eldest. There is a good osmosis in this “small group”, which is one which is necessarily apart, given the uniqueness of the position.
We spoke for a long time with Thomas to see how he was in the dressing room during the preseason before joining us. We discussed this very specific role with him, which is nevertheless very important. He must also help the team’s young players by sharing his experience. In the six months he has been with us, Thomas has in any case proved that he has the qualities required to fulfill this status.
On penalty shootouts
I have my list of players in my head, but it’s not definitive, because I don’t have a definitive starting eleven. I also don’t know which players will finish the match. From time to time we do penalty sessions in training, but we can never recreate the same atmosphere as during the match. The best example is the Netherlands at the World Cup, since before the competition they worked for a year with a penalty shootout specialist, working with six or seven different goalkeepers.
They had an individualized club program, and in the end they missed three of their five attempts against Argentina. I am someone who wants to repeat all the details, but for me penalties are the most difficult thing to work on. It’s not a lottery, but there are a lot of parameters to take into account.
On rotation within the squad
We start a week with three games in 6-7 days, so everything will depend on the physical condition of the players and their recovery. I will try to give minutes to players who are pushing hard in training. It was good to be able to give everyone playing time during the break.
The team’s run of 27 matches scoring at least one goal
For me it is very important because it shows that we are a team that plays to create chances and score goals. We want people who watch our games to be happy. We are trying to develop an attacking style of play, to score and to entertain people. But in the end you have to win. You have to find a good balance between putting on a show and results. Even when there is a draw, we are a team that always tries to win, we never stop playing.
— AS Monaco EN (@AS_Monaco_EN) January 3, 2023