Kovac insists AS Monaco not yet in UEFA Champions League spot
Niko Kovac insisted that there is still work to cement the top four despite the 4-0 victory over Saint Etienne.
Kovac’s side Monaco eased past St. Etienne 4-0 thanks to goals from Stevan Jovetic, Aurélien Tchouaméni, Sofiane Diop and Krépin Diatta.
The 4-0 victory at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard leaves Monaco 4 points clear from fifth place Olympique Marseille. Also, Monaco, 59 points, are trailing third Olympique Lyonnais and second Paris Saint Germain both with 60 points.
“I have always said we need to go step by step and first of all make sure of fourth place,” Kovac insisted.
“We are in a good position at the table but we can talk about something else after we have made sure of fourth place, not before. We know the qualities of Lille, Lyon, and Paris and they will be very difficult to overtake,” he added.
Kovac heaped praises to Jovetic who opened the scoreline. Despite Jovetic missing a penalty earlier, the coach’s decision of selecting him ahead of Wissam Ben Yedder paid off.
“When we are concentrated, when we press high, it is difficult for our opponents,” Kovac said.
“’Jove’ played very well. He missed a penalty, that can happen, but he scored straight after. He deserved to play because he has come on as a substitute more times than anyone else this season, 22 times, and he played well in the last few matches,” the former Bayern Munich said.
“It was not a punishment for Wissam, it is just that a coach needs competition for places and I am very pleased to have talented players in attack like Ben Yedder, Jovetic, and (Kevin) Volland,” Kovac revealed.
His comparator Saint Etienne coach Claude Puel admitted that Monaco outclassed his side. St. Etienne has slumped three losses in their last four outings.
“We were too far off it. It hurts, and we can’t accept conceding goals like that and losing in that manner. I have no regrets like in certain matches where we deserved better,” “Puel admitted. This time the step up was too big.”