He is the third most capped player in the squad (146 matches) and is one of those most used by coach Adi Hütter this season (425 minutes out of 450). A pillar of AS Monaco in 2023-2024, Youssouf Fofana is happy to see the team start the league season so well. This is what he expressed in a pre-match press conference, 48 hours before facing rival Nice in the Derby at the Stade Louis-II.
On his assist in Lorient
I have already been teased in the locker room because supposedly it was not intentional (smiles). No, seriously Golo’ played well by continuing his run, and then after that you you have to score! His control-shot sequence was truly magnificent. My best assist? (He thinks) No, the best remains the one for Stevan Jovetić against Angers at the Stade Louis-II.
His attacking contributions
My positioning has evolved a little, depending on the needs of the coach. But it mainly depends on the opponent we face. This year we meet teams who play in low blocks, and in this case we played more with a 6, with me who positioned higher, between the lines. It allows me to actually progress in the penalty area, whether it be with a final ball or to get into shooting positions.
𝗤𝘂𝗲𝗹 𝗴𝗼𝗹𝗮𝘇𝗼 𝗱𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘀 𝗥𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗲 & 𝗕𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗰 🤩 pic.twitter.com/cQRPQLPC1r
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) September 18, 2023
The keys to the Derby
We’ve worked to face this Nice team this week, on what they do offensively in particular. We’ll see how they play, if they’re waiting for us or if they’re coming to get us. But in any case, we are going to bring the ball out and try to impose our game. First place or 18th, a derby is a derby, and we must not lose it.
The coach‘s philosophy
He knows how to balance things between moments of relaxation and work, and it shows in his management. He doesn’t put unnecessary pressure on us from the edge of the pitch. There are coaches who say that you have to bring creativity into play in the final third, but that feels even more natural.
In the locker room he can be tougher sometimes, because he likes to see discipline on the pitch, in our positioning and defensive efforts when losing the ball. We are really having fun with him, and have already progressed a lot alongside him.
Nice’s style of play
We are first, they third, we score a lot of goals (15) and they concede few (4). So it will inevitably be a great duel on Friday at the Stade Louis-II. They have a new coach with a new style of play. We will have to be concentrated, because they have always implemented what they wanted to do, even when playing big teams (Lille, Paris).
Managing balls played into depth? It’s part of our style of play to play high. But it’s true that the goals we concede are similar. We need to work on this aspect of things, and that’s what we are doing on a daily basis. Since the arrival of the coach, we have worked a lot on the attitude towards losing the ball. It’s a key to turning a match around.
A measure of revenge?
Of course the match last year has remained in the back of our minds, so there will be the desire to take that into account. But even if we had won, it’s a new derby and we have to play it to win this one. Last season, they had a lot of success playing on the break. It’s up to us to rectify the situation.
His relationship with Denis Zakaria
At the start (against Lorient), it was a bit new, so we had to find a connection, but that’s normal. But I quickly understood in which position Denis felt comfortable on the pitch, and I adapted. He’s a very intelligent player and he’s another option in midfield, it’s great.
"𝐶'𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑑𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑣𝑎 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑟𝑒"
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) September 17, 2023
What the new arrivals bring to the team
There are a lot of new players who are in the eleven and who want to show their qualities. Without comparing with previous years, I think the quality has gone up a notch in the squad. Competition always makes the team grow, and it is something that’s present at all the big clubs. It is important to move forward and achieve the Club’s goals.