Far from the madness proposed at the beginning of the year 2021, the ASM purrs in recent weeks. Facing Reims, Sunday (3 p.m.) during the 13th day of Ligue 1, Niko Kovac assists his players with passion and determination while waiting to find a flamboyant game.
Thursday evening, at the Louis II stadium, there was the whistle of Mr Pakir to end a boring match against PSV (0-0) fr Europe League then those of the few Monegasque supporters, frustrated with the performance of their proteges a few days after having offered Brest its first victory of the season (2-0). Since the start of the 2021-2022 financial year, Monaco has been disappointing after having attracted a good number of observers during the first months of the calendar year.
Tenth in Ligue 1, Niko Kovac’s men generally showed a more convincing face in the European Cup. Thursday it was not the case
“Last year we were in the shoes of the hunter, this season in that of the hunted, philosopher the Croatian coach. Having a good season does not guarantee making a good next. It’s different to play and perform two games a week, for some it is the first time that they know this kind of situation, it is the process to follow to learn, it is part of their training, it will help them for their career. “
And the Croatian technician continued: “It is not because we are playing the European Cup that we need to do less (in the league). We have to increase our determination.”
Kovac: “My team has a block in the head”
Determination. The five syllables came back several times in the mouth of Niko Kovac a few hours before taking the plane to the Stade Auguste Delaune and facing Reims this Sunday during the 13th day of Ligue 1. Already this week, after the match against Eindhoven, the coach of ASM had targeted this lack of passion, of power while Benoît Badiashile explained that the team had played with restraint, without wanting to take risks.
“I want to accept technical and tactical errors, but for me attitude is the most important, said the Croatian coach this Saturday. I want envy, passion and determination. My players must know that everyone the three days must put these ingredients. “
A lack of envy also advanced to explain the defensive shortcomings on set pieces: “You have to find the right balance, it is not a problem of choice but of determination. If you only look at what your teammate is doing and what ‘he makes a mistake, it’s over. You have to trust your partner but at the same time be focused on yourself. When you drive your car, you have to watch how others are driving around you while being focused on your conduct. It is the same chosen in the field. “
Gelson Martins is aware of this. “We all make efforts but I think it comes from a problem of concentration, concedes the Portuguese. Another argument put forward by Kovac to explain the difficulties of these players at the start of the season, the mental:” We lack lightness, simplicity, carelessness, which was our strength last season. We have to think more easily, we ask ourselves too many questions ‘should we play forward, backward, sideways?’ I think my team has a block in the head whereas last year everything was fluid. “
Scorers weaned from balloons
So overwhelming the last season, the Monegasque attack is struggling this season, it is the 10th in the championship. Purchased for 17 million euros from Alkmaar, Myron Boadu has yet to show anything on the Rock (1 ma) and his non-selection in the last list of Dutch hopes is not trivial. While we especially think we have found it against Montpellier (3-1) on October 24, the Yedder-Volland pair is no longer as accomplice and less found.
What annoy Niko Kovac. “You have to play more forward to get chances. It does not matter if you lose the ball by playing forward, it is less dangerous than if you play backwards, continued the Monegasque coach. We have to be more active to find the attackers, to play more directly. “
Thursday, against PSV, he railed several times on his bench when balls were played back while space was available to his players. Spaces, however, less present for Portuguese winger Gelson Martins: “The teams know us now, they have studied us. Last year, they could be surprised. There is still time to correct things and improve.” Monaco must find solutions. If he is not yet far in his race for the podium, a setback in Reims could put the Principality club eight points from third place in the third of the championship. It would then be far from slashing the champagne.