The number speaks for itself: Monaco lost 21 points after leading in the score this season in Ligue 1, a shortcoming to be resolved quickly, from this Sunday (5:05 p.m.) against Lorient, to be able to aim for a place on the podium.
Before the 31st day, Monaco, 4th, is three points behind Marseille (3rd) and five behind Lens (2nd): “Finishing 4th would be a failure”, warns French international defender Axel Disasi. To avoid such a failure, it is therefore necessary to lose this bad habit of being caught up in the score.
“It shows that we score a lot and that we score first”, first wants to retain the Belgian coach of ASM Philippe Clement. “It is important, when we have done it, to manage the rest well. This is the next step to achieve. We have things to improve,” he admits.
In order not to lose as many points, Monaco must concede fewer goals: after the 30th day, Monaco are conceded to 42, which is as many as Nantes, who are struggling to maintain.
The 11th defense of L1 can hardly aim for the podium. Disasi designs it. “The objective in the next matches will be to concede fewer goals,” he announced. It will involve everyone: defenders but also attackers and incoming players. You have to be able to take cover and kill the opposing hopes.
In addition to the collective involvement, the ability of the German goalkeeper Alexandre Nübel to be decisive questions. Every week, Clement has to defend him. Before the draw in Nantes (2-2) last Sunday, he found "the perception around him unfair, too negative".
“Defending is never just goalkeeper and defense but collective, explains the technician. In Nantes, we cannot speak of a goalkeeper error. We lost an aerial duel on the first goal. On the second, the only time Golovin wasn't focused, it was a goal. It's not structural.
Disasi, as a good vice-captain, also flies to the aid of his goalkeeper: “It is up to us, defenders, to relieve him, to take our responsibilities. In our sport, goalkeepers or defenders are targeted on a goal. I don't like it when you want to cut off heads. It is a collective work. Alex is very professional and no one is perfect."
Clement says he works in training "a lot of defensive set phases", but also "positioning, aggressiveness, the duel, contacts in the area and defensive automatisms".
If he recognizes a month of March "complicated after the elimination in the European Cup (against Bayer Leverkusen in the play-off for the 8th finals of the Europa League, editor's note)", Disasi remains "very optimistic": " We can still qualify for the Champions League even if it will not be easy, he continues. There is no pressure to put on. We are in the nails. I have confidence in my group. Past experience in knowing how to deal with emotions can be a big advantage.”
Moreover, he does not envisage any other outcome. "Monaco is an ambitious club, which has put a lot of resources into making sure we are successful," he concludes. Last season, we finished third. The logical next step would be to maintain continuity.