Just after training yesterday, Niko Kovac had an appointment in a studio at the La Turbie Training Center for a somewhat special interview, with that of the supporters of AS Monaco. The latter were invited on Sunday, November 15 to ask their questions to the Croatian manager on Instagram.
With a smile, the coach, who has been with the Club since this summer answered many questions and also wanted to give a message to the fans of the Red and Whites: “Thank you for your support. We know that you are behind us. Even though you are not at the stadium, we can feel your presence. We know that you are supporting the club anyway, and we thank you for that. This period is not the easiest, so take care of yourself and know that we hope to see you soon in our stadium.”
After ten games, how do you feel about your squad and its potential?
I arrived 4 months ago. I think I’ve learned a lot about our players, they know me and I know them. I’m happy with the squad, we have a nice mix of young and old, we are on the right track. Out of the ten matches, I would say it’s gone well, but as a coach we always want the maximum number of points. To be honest we could have 20-21 points and today we only have 17. We are trying to improve every day, but like I said we are on the right track.
Why did you choose to give the captain’s armband to Wissam Ben Yedder?
Wissam is a big star, not just in France but around the world. He is a leader, an experienced player, who influences the young players and helps the team with his qualities. He also helps the younger generation, I think it’s an honor for him to be the captain of AS Monaco and I’m glad he is. This is what I expect from him, he must continue his momentum in this regard.
Do you want to give players from the Academy more playing time?
It’s not a problem for me to give young people the opportunity to join the first team. The important thing is to be efficient and that is what gives them the opportunity to play. The first thing I want to see in a young player is passion and a hard-working mindset. They have to show it to me on the pitch and in training. We have a lot of talented young players who play at the Academy or with us in the first team. Chrislain (Matsima), for example, who has already played three matches. This is the right way to go, but for that their level must be high.
What’s the main thing to improve for the next game?
The next match is against PSG, the best team in the league. There have the best players so it will be a tough game for us. We will try to take the points and for that we will have to be at 100% and play as a team. I believe in my players, they give 100% and that is the most important thing. When you do, you can expect a point or even three. If not, it will be hard but we will think positively.
Where do you see AS Monaco in three to four years?
Today we are starting a new chapter for the club. We have a good balance, even if any change takes time. We are on the right track, but the road is not the end in itself. You have to keep growing, again and again. Football is like life. Sometimes you fall, but the important thing is to get up. I hope that the future of the club will be in European competitions, we are working to achieve that and we need your support as supporters.
What music do you listen to before games?
I like Croatian music very much and I also like listening to Spanish music. It’s music with a good rhythm and it’s also important for me that the melody is great. I listen to anything that sounds good (smiles).
Do you have a favorite movie or TV series?
To be honest, I don’t have time to watch TV. We work a lot. Believe it or not, since I’ve been here I’ve only turned on the television once and watched shows to get used to the French language. In fact, I don’t have a series or film that I particularly like.
Where are you in your learning French?
I think I understand a good part of French, but speaking it is more complicated because you need more confidence. To be honest people around me have more of a problem because they have to speak English with me. The main language is English at the moment. I am trying to improve myself, I am working on it and I need a little time.
Who has been the best opponent of your playing career?
I would say it’s Zizou (Zinédine Zidane). I played against him a lot of times, he was a great great player. It has always been a great honor to play against him, he was a real gentleman on the pitch, a very good player, very respectful, really the best.
As a player, what is your best memory?
It’s difficult. As a player, it’s clear that when you win a title, it’s the celebration. Doing it with Bayern Munich (Niko Kovac was German champion in 2003, note), that was something special.
What do you like about AS Monaco?
AS Monaco is a great historic club. I like their story, they’ve won a lot of trophies. It’s a small country, it’s very unique, we are not only AS Monaco but also a nation. We are in the process of building a new AS Monaco, the club’s project is of a high level. I hope that we will achieve our goals, not only for us, but also for the supporters. We give our best to do so.
What is it like to work with Robert, your brother?
It’s atypical, it’s a unique situation and I am happy to be experiencing it. I can trust him 100%, like the rest of the staff. We are not friends, nor colleagues, we are brothers, we have the same blood. It’s good, because we have also played together. When I have worries he is always behind me supporting me. He is great and he is a great help.
Don’t you fight like all the brothers do?
Of course when we were little we used to fight. He’s the youngest, he wanted to be better than me, but I’m the oldest. Now we communicate with a critical mind. It is not always me who is right, even if I am the oldest. If he has another opinion we can discuss it and if his arguments are better, no problem. I will agree to change my point of view if I believe this is the right path to success.
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