After their last home win on Matchday 12 against Nîmes (4-0), AS Monaco welcomes Lens with the aim of securing a fourth straight victory at the Stade Louis-II, where the team is unbeaten since the start of the season. On the eve of this match against the Sang et Or, Vito Mannone gave a pre-match press conference.
What did you work on in training before this match against Lens?
Our focus is on concentration from the first to the last minute. In the last few matches, we were in a position to come back and score near the end of the match and that is important. We must continue to work as a collective.
What do you take away from your last few matches as a starter?
I feel very good. I’m glad to have this opportunity, I will continue to help the team as best I can. I am currently in good shape and very happy with this chance granted to me by the coach. This run of matches allows me to integrate myself into the team more quickly, because it is never easy to arrive at a new club. I have a good relationship with my teammates that I am discovering more and more, and they with me as well. We must continue to work together so that the team progresses.
Is it important for you to remind yourself that you can help the team during this period?
I say that I’m always training to be the number 1. I don’t think of being number 1 or 2, I train during the week to be number one. My priority is getting on the pitch, I’m focused on the next match. We have to take as many points as possible over the next three rounds. My priority now is to approach the next match with the right level of focus and to help the team react.
Do you feel that you are one of those with experience that can help give shape to this young team?
It’s something I take to heart, because I’ve been in this situation too. My former teammates helped me a lot, I was lucky to be surrounded by good people. I try to pass my experience on to those who need it. We must not forget all that we have done well since the start of the season — we are still close to the top places. With my experience, I feel able to help the younger players. The group is squad, there is a good mix of youth and experience. The match against Lens is another challenge. We are ready to do what we need to get the three points at home.
What teams do you think are best equipped to challenge for the title with PSG?
I’m realizing day after day that Ligue 1 has very good teams, I am even surprised. In the last two games, we faced two great teams from Marseille and Lille. We have to stay close to the leading pack that has these kinds of teams. But there are also other teams that are playing very well, like Montpellier that we have faced recently. PSG had and will have important matches, they will experience some fixture congestion. Their supremacy is reminiscent of that in other countries with Juventus in Italy, Liverpool in England or Bayern in Germany, but they have also gone through more difficult times, so we can say that it is the current period that brings that about.