He arrived at the very end of the transfer window to support Benjamin Lecomte and Radoslaw Majecki in the AS Monaco goalkeeping trio. A starter in the last three matches of the Red and Whites in Ligue 1 in place of the injured Benjamin Lecomte, Vito Mannone took part in the wins against Nice, Paris and Nîmes. Very happy to be able to get some playing time in a league he is only just discovering, the Italian goalkeeper took the time to give his first impressions of his time in the Principality in an interview with Marina Lorenzo on the program “Au coeur des Clubs” on Téléfoot.
Vito, what are your first impressions of Ligue 1, which are you discovering for the first time?
Already I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to play. We are doing well at the moment, we are winning matches and personally I’ve started well. I couldn’t ask for better than this, although there is obviously still a lot to do. We can all still progress individually and collectively. There are important matches coming up like away to Lille this Sunday.
You generated quite a bit of buzz by wearing a cap against Nîmes…
I wore a cap a lot when I was little. I played all my games with a cap in the 90s-2000s, it was something I loved to do. We do see it less and less these days and the truth is that on Sunday I really needed it because I couldn’t see anything at all, the sun was very low. I know it made people laugh, I received a lot of messages and I learned that it was popular even in France, so it makes me happy for myself. For us in Italy, the cartoon was called Benji Price, and here I know it’s Olive and Tom. It made me all the more happy that I grew up knowing this character who was my first idol.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) November 29, 2020
Your first two matches were very important, against Nice and PSG. How did you feel they went?
Yes without a doubt. In a way it was good to start, with a derby. I know we hadn’t won there for the past five years, so it was an important result, to win at Nice. Then we faced Paris Saint-Germain, the best team in the championship, with incredible players. Winning that way with a comeback and a collective effort from the team, it was really important, it gives us confidence. Of course there are two more big games coming up, so we’ll see it as we go. Lille are a great team, one of the best in France, so it will be a good test again.
In any case, this is the wish of this great club AS Monaco…
Of course, AS Monaco is a great club. A club that has had great years in the Champions League, a club that has developed great players at the international and even world level. So it’s obvious that we want to bring the club back to the level it deserves. But first of all we have to be humble and take the games one after the other. Again, there is another big test this Sunday and getting three points is fundamental.
You are used as an outlet a lot by your defenders when it comes to kicking. You are an integral part of Monaco’s possession game.
Yes, it’s true. Since I arrived, this is the style that we have worked on and that’s what I like, to be honest. The coach loves to play football and he loves to have the goalkeepers involved in helping the team. So even in going through the goalie, it’s important to have possession. And for that you have to stay very focused, work every day, and if we can keep the ball, with the young and talented team that we have, we can do good things against everyone.
Who are your role models in your position?
Of course, there is a distinction between those of the past and the modern keeper. But if we talk about the modern goalkeeper, I like Marc-André Ter Stegen a lot, especially for his kicking. He’s a complete goalie, who knows how to do his job in goal, he is very good at stopping strikes. But he’s also great with the ball at his feet, which makes him an integral part of the team. I see that being the role of the goalkeeper that way today.
You arrived at Arsenal at a very young age, at 17. When you arrive with your experience to join a young team that has produced some great matches, do you appreciate it?
Yes it is superb. They make me feel a little bit old, even though I’m only 32 years old and I feel young. It makes me happy to be part of this project with such a style of play. It’s a different game from English football, in which I spent 13 or 14 years, but I’m having a lot of fun. I savor every minute and it makes me happy even to face new opponents and enjoy a great level of football.