The princely club must recover from enormous disappointment after elimination in the preliminary round of the Champions League.
“The players are ready to bounce back“: Deleted by Eindhoven in the 3rd preliminary round of the Champions League, Philippe Clément and Monaco have already missed a goal of their season and must not miss each other, from Saturday against Rennes in Ligue 1 (5:00 p.m.).
This season again, Monaco will not play in the Champions League. This season again, all the characteristics of the club find the elimination unfair. However, this has become a constant for a year: Monaco no longer knows how to win the most decisive matches.
In August 2021, after a superb comeback against Shakhtar Donetsk which had made it possible to trace the defeat to Louis-II, Ruben Aguilar had registered against his side one but as unlucky as incredible in overtime. The elimination weighed down the season. It was under the orders of Niko Kovac.
With Philippe Clément, the Monegasques were first taken out on penalties in the semi-final of the Coupe de France in Nantes. Then, after an exceptional run of nine consecutive victories in L1, they conceded a draw at Lens at the last second of the season, and saw Marseille steal second place from them, synonymous with qualification in C1.
Tuesday, rebelote … New disillusionment in Eindhoven. After the draw in the first leg in the Principality, Monaco had to win. Monaco qualified until the 89th minute. The unthinkable happened two minutes from the end of the match, then from extra time.
This string of defeats has shaken an entire club. “After the match, the president, the players, the staff, me … Everyone was affected, explains sports director Paul Mitchell. We deserved more than our opponent. It takes a bit of success. We are proud of the involvement of the players and we must continue to believe in what we are doing. Obviously, we analyzed the reasons for this elimination. But now, we have to move forward, focus on what’s next.»
Do not repeat the mistakes of the past season
On the strength of past experiences, sports officials have stepped up to the plate. Objective: not to repeat the mistakes of the last season. After six days, Monaco then accumulated only five points (1 win, 2 draws, 3 losses) and were nine behind OM, future vice-champion of France.
According to Mitchell, the Monegasque group then had “too long kept his emotions“. “We must react immediately, he warns. Our levels of preparation and fitness are the best of last season. You have to make very good matches in L1.»
“The players are ready to bounce back against Rennes, which is a great team“, assures Clément, who on Thursday, debriefed the Eindhoven match with the players, with supporting images, for “a fair and precise analysis“.
He saw meninvolved and motivatedable to perform high-intensity work again. “I’m sure my players will respond“, he advances. As a pack leader, the Belgian now pushes his people to want to be satisfied with new victories. For this, he hammers them that they follow the right direction.
“The return match (against Eindhoven, editor’s note) was, for me, Monaco’s best match since I’ve been here, eight months, he says. Not in the result obviously, but in the quality. We see a lot of players grow. We must continue like this, with the same motivation.» «Everyone is in the story, finished it. There are still a lot of good things to do this season.»
The receptions of Rennes, another French representative in the Europa League, then of Lens next week, are therefore two high-end tests to find out if the message has passed. And to know if Monaco is able to challenge Paris SG, opponent of the 4th day.