The reactions of Niko Kovac and Radoslaw Majecki
Nothing is stopping AS Monaco at the moment. Not even a very challenging first half, with five big chances for Olympique Lyonnais, including hitting the woodwork four times. They did, however, return with a conquering state of mind in the second half, and the Blue and Yellow (on the evening) put Lyon to the sword at Groupama Stadium (0-2), to earn themselves a place in the last four of the Coupe de France. It was their 17th victory in 20 games in 2021, with a tenth clean sheet in their last eleven matches, and their eighth in a row. It was a match full of remarkable performances and ended with well-deserved qualification, which Niko Kovac and Radoslaw Majecki (who had a 4th clean sheet in the competition) analyzed after the final whistle.
Good evening Niko. What changed between the first and second periods tonight?
At half-time, we made a readjustment. We went from three to four at the back in building play. It’s true that in the second half we were better, but what I remember above all is the team’s spirit, the fighting spirit that was shown by the team. And in the end, I think we deserved our victory over the course of the game.
Were you surprised by Lyon’s first half and not playing at your usual level?
Listen, we didn’t come to Lyon expecting to have an easy time of things. We expected a tough match against one of the best teams in France and Europe, so we expected this kind of game. We had our chances in the second half and we took them so that’s what I will remember most of all about tonight.
What did you think of Radoslaw Majecki’s performance tonight?
I think he delivered a very good performance, he had a great match, a good performance. He showed a lot of composure, he was very sure in coming off his line, he brought an air of serenity to the defense and made some superb saves, very beautiful saves. So that’s very positive — if he has all these qualities, that’s why he’s at AS Monaco.
Did you need more bodies in midfield at half-time and is that why you moved Aleksandr Golovin to play as a ten?
We were pretty good in midfield, it was more in defense where we had to tactically readjust our system. The midfield was not the problem. We made the right corrections in the second half and we got better and better, finding our balance.
Do you think this match can have an impact on the match which will be held in ten days in Ligue 1?
We are going to analyze this match, as Lyon will of course do the same. But I think that this evening we also made some changes, and Lyon did as well. So I imagine that in ten days the match will be very different and that there will be no repercussions following tonight’s victory.
Good evening Radoslaw. With this run of matches in the Coupe de France, how are you feeling now?
I’m fine and I feel great. I’m feel better and better. I have worked a lot this season in training to improve. I have the impression that I have. Of course, there is still work to be done but one must continue on this path.
Can you tell us about the first half and what was the situation that challenged you the most?
Every opposing opportunity is always difficult for a goalkeeper to negotiate. I think we did a good job defending. We managed to keep a clean sheet. In the second half, we managed to score two goals — it’s a job well done.
How did you manage your arrival at AS Monaco and how have you progressed?
You know, when you arrive at a young age in another country, it’s not easy. You have to adapt. There is a period of adaptation, changing one’s country, league and culture. There is a lot of work to be done. You have to get your bearings in a new environment. You can see that when you compare my first start against Nantes at the start of the season and today. One can see the difference. We work day after day, and one must never give up in order to continue this progression.
What do you hope for in the future at AS Monaco?
My goal is to work hard, fight and show my qualities whenever I get the chance, and do the best I can.
It’s been four Coupe de France matches now for you without conceding a goal. What does this stat mean to you?
It’s true that in the first three games, I didn’t necessarily have much opportunity to show my qualities. I had much asked of me, but it was different tonight. I had a lot more chances to deal with. I was able to show my qualities. We are all very happy to have obtained qualification for the semifinals of the Coupe de France and to continue this adventure.