Monaco and the dams, a unique adventure / C1 / 3rd round / Monaco-PSV /

Almost three months after missing out on a direct qualification for the Champions League at the Bollaert ground, AS Monaco progressed on Tuesday night on the path that should take it to the group stage. However, from preparation to recruitment through the state of mind of the group, these matches represent more than a simple ticket to fall into the arms of the cup with big ears.

A few seconds, less than the time it takes for Maurizio Sarri to light up and smoke a cigarette and about the time Julian Nagelsmann took the tactical experiment too far by playing his Bayern twelve against Fribourg. at the beginning of April. This is especially what he will miss on May 21 at AS Monaco, at the Bollaert ground, to score a direct ticket to the group stage of the Champions League 2022-2023.

Caught on the wire by a goal from Ignatius Ganago on the last day of Ligue 1, the players from Le Rocher are therefore condemned to return again before others and pay for the first trips this month of August, including one in Eindhoven on August 9 after stopping at Louis-II on Tuesday night. The beginning of a journey that the Monegasque club knows very well because it is about to experience it for the sixth time since the beginning of 2000. An adventure that, in any case, will first condition the rest of the during the men of Philippe Clement and whose first effects are already visible.

A TGV preparation

The first: less than a month after the terrible scenario experienced on a lawn in Pas-de-Calais, the Monegasques returned to La Turbie. “It’s a preparation like everyone else, but with a different timeposes Loïc Badiashile, now in Burgos CF, in the Spanish second division, came to play in the first leg against Fenerbahçe in July 2016 (1-2). You have to go a little faster, think differently about recovery and not take too many matches so as not to arrive tired on the day of the play-off, but also find the number of matches you need to prepare the whole group. as well as possible. Qualifiers are played in a group, not just a team. »

“There’s a cleaver match coming up, so it’s a bit different from the usual preparation. » Guillaume Warmuz

Holding the return period against Betis in the heart of the summer of 2005 (2-2), Guillaume Warmuz a lot: “It’s not an exact science either, but obviously the preparation is new right away. There’s a cleaver match coming up, so it changes a little bit from the usual, classic preparation, where we have a simple goal: the first day of the championship. » Important point: the body is not the only place where players need to be fit.

“Qualifying is also mental preparationBadiashile continued. You have to have confidence in what the coach offers at the time, what he wants to prepare and then, the whole group has to give 100% and have confidence. » Preparing as soon as possible also requires closing the transfer window as soon as possible, something that Paul Mitchell tried to do this summer. Several outliers – Pietro Pellegri, Strahinja Pavlovic and Benjamin Lecomte – packed their bags while Breel Embolo and Takumi Minamino headed the Red and White attack. Only one black point: the loss of a recruit to compensate for Aurélien Tchouaméni’s departure from Real Madrid.

Anything but vacation

The club will try to compensate for this lack of experience in the play-offs, despite the mixed results of the exercise. In five participations, ASM never stumbled in the first round (in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, only one dam was needed to access the Champions League), but it was ejected three times during the ending at the end. in August (in 2005, 2015 and 2021).

This latest defeat, against Shakhtar Donetsk, could serve Wissam Ben Yedder’s teammates in a game unlike any other. “It’s not even the start of the season. These play-offs have done all the work of the season beforeremembers Loïc Badiashile. It’s like finishing last year on a high because if you don’t qualify for the Champions League, you feel like you’ve given everything for nothing. » And this difference in approach was immediately felt on the ground according to Benoît’s brother: “There was a different intensity and atmosphere. Everyone was involved, from the beginning to the end. When I entered, I felt that we were no longer in the preparation games. Everyone encouraged me and I said to myself: “What happened? It’s a game, not the end of the world!” I feel it is important for the whole club, for the coach, for everyone. I have never seen a coach so excited, so active. There, I understood that it was something very serious. »

“I thought, ‘What’s going on? It’s a game, it’s not the end of the world.’ I feel it’s important for the whole club, it’s something very serious. » Loic Badiashile

Guillaume Warmuz confirms: “All of a sudden, it’s like we’re in the finals, we’re getting ready right away. » An impression that should also be confirmed by the principles. Always depopulated, the heights of the Louis-II stadium should be filled this Tuesday night. “There are a lot of people too. Not necessarily only Monegasque supporters will comecommented Loïc Badiashile. There were a lot of people because people in the area were on vacation and they took the opportunity to go and watch the matches. »

The bets before the game

When asked if it is possible to combine a play-off and a championship at the same level, Badiashile replied: “Let’s not lie to each other, no. In the European Cup, there is more intensity, it makes everyone dream more, all the players give 100%. It’s a fact, like that. » Philippe Clement and his team could easily lose some feathers in a calendar that promises more (Strasbourg, Rennes, Lens, PSG, Nice and Lyon in the first seven days).

“This is a double-edged sword. Winning these types of games will start a season that will be amazing. » Loic Badiashile

More than the first meetings, ASM really plays a good part of its season, and not only in the European scene, from this Tuesday night. “This is a double-edged sword. Winning these types of games starts a season that can be amazing because in the end, it gives you a confidence that is difficult to have throughout the season. says Loïc Badiahsile, well known, because he is part of the group that started an extraordinary exercise – crowned with a title of champion of France and half of C1 – after a barrage that won against in Fenerbahçe.

For Guillaume Warmuz, eliminated by Betis seventeen years ago, “You have to look at the conditions and the flow of the game. At that point, everything will be played on the strength of the group to recover quickly, to recondition and prepare for the future of the league, especially since behind there is another European Cup to play anyway, even if not in the Champions League . remains difficult to swallow. » Looking at the calendar that awaits them, the Monegasques are therefore well advised to qualify so as not to scuttle, from August, a time that has already become complicated with the World Cup in November. Otherwise, they may need to drink a good dose of baking soda in the hope of digesting the second consecutive failure as well as possible.

By Florian Porta
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