He was one of the key players in the team’s comeback last Friday against LOSC (2-2). Again a starter against Real Sociedad on Thursday, Sofiane Diop also played a role in the team’s victory (2-1), helping to seal qualification for the Rouge et Blanc for the Round of 16 of the Europa League. On the eve of facing Strasbourg in Ligue 1, the U-21 international (6 caps, 3 goals and 3 assists) spoke to the press about the desire to get back to winning ways in the league.
On the difficulty of chasing a place in the next round
In fact, it’s not that hard to play a game together. That said, it is true that we were not used to playing European matches, because we are a young team. Now, we’ve been guided by a few experienced players, who explained to us how it was going, and who gave us advice. We like playing every three days now, we are getting a taste for it, so we will do everything to keep this going. We try to bring the same passion to Ligue 1, but it’s obvious that playing in Europe has a special flavor.
On the joy of qualifying
We are very happy to have qualified for the next round in the Europa League. Now our goal is to improve our situation in the league. We have a very important match tomorrow against a direct competitor who has the same number of points as us. Moving up the table means winning against these kinds of teams, so it’s up to us to do the job.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) November 27, 2021
On the benefit of a well-earned win
I personally find that this victory has done us a lot of good. We knew what was at stake and where this Real Sociedad team was in their league. I hope the result will give us even more motivation to win the next matches in the same way. From my perspective, in the locker room and even at the Club, I think it did us a lot of good. We will be keen to win against Strasbourg to end this fine week. Once again, the job has been done, and we are very happy.
We now know the coach and his philosophy very well. He wants to win every match, no matter the competition, so he tries to put on the fittest players. There is also fatigue that has to be managed, with the way that the fixture list is. We understand this method well, and it is as a team in my opinion that we will be able to perform well over time, especially going, and not as individuals.
On the difficulty of Ligue 1
The league is quite closely contested; as we have seen from the start of the season, the teams are very close to each other. With a win tomorrow we can be back in the chase. It is necessary to get the job done and we are really focused on this game.
On room for improvement
I have a lot of discussions with the coach. I still have a lot to learn and work for it every day. There is a staff here who are available to help us progress, especially when it comes to video work. I am aware of all of this. I am still young and I hope to be able to develop quickly and to be more consistent in my performances. I want to find consistencey in terms of my statistics too. And then I still have to learn in terms of my defensive work. The coach congratulated me after Lille for that, so I now have a baseline to which I can refer.
Le deuxième but signé Sofiane Diop 👊
Le milieu monégasque reprend une frappe de Kalimuendo détournée par le gardien 🧤
🇫🇷 2⃣-0⃣ 🇦🇲 pic.twitter.com/3zJEGSubxC
— Canal Football Club (@CanalFootClub) November 11, 2021
On his success with France
I am still the same. With France, the coach gives me a lot of freedom, as much as I have here in Monaco. I find the styles of play to be a bit similar. I’m very happy with the status I have with the U21s. I’m trying to be as consistent as possible with my club, so as to help the team win.
On set pieces
The coach lets me take them a little more, that’s true. I work on them on a daily basis, because they can be a very important weapon. If I remember correctly, last season we were one of the teams in Europe which scored the most in this phase of play. They can change the course of a game, so I’m glad the coach lets me take them, along with Golo, when he feels the situation calls for it.
On his position
The coach uses me regularly on the left flank. As a youngster, I had played a lot behind the striker but I don’t necessarily have a preference. But it’s funny because it was coach Julien Stéphan who started me on the right with Rennes. I don’t have a preference, as I think I can adapt to a new position quite quickly.