September 18, 2021

‘Defences win titles’ – Kovac outlines blueprint for success at Monaco

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The Croatian manager says he is “not a coach who stays off the field” and that he will try to develop a close bond with his new players

Niko Kovac has outlined his blueprint for success at Monaco, insisting “defences win titles”.

Kovac replaced Robert Moreno in the Stade Louis II hot seat on July 19, committing to a three-year deal with the Ligue 1 outfit.

The 48-year-old had been out of work since being sacked by Bayern Munich in November 2019 following a poor start to the season. Kovac’s reign at Allianz Arena only lasted 16 months, despite the fact he led the club to a domestic treble during his first full campaign at the helm.

Questions were asked over his predictable tactical setup and selection policy at Bayern, but he has been given the chance to rebuild his reputation at Monaco.

The French outfit finished ninth in Ligue 1 after the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak in April. Monaco have fallen way off the pace in the top-flight since winning the title in 2016-17, and Kovac has identified a number of changes that will be necessary for a turnaround in fortunes.

“I believe in a rule: the scorers win the matches, the defences win the titles”, the former Bayern boss told L’Equipe. “I saw that Monaco conceded 44 goals last season, not in 38 matches but in 28 matches. Reims [who finished sixth] allowed only 21. This is a key point that depends on all the players.

“We also want to play offensively, with aggression and speed.”

Kovac added on his managerial approach on and off the pitch: “I am not a coach who stays off the field and observes, always looking upset.

“The game is my passion, and without passion, we do not achieve anything. I try to be close, I don’t want the players to be afraid of me. We’re not friends but we have to have a good relationship.”

The Croatian admitted that it will take time for him to implement his philosophy at Monaco, but he is confident that the board have brought into his long-term vision.

“I signed a contract for three years, Paul Mitchell [the sporting director] for four, it shows that a process is taking place,” said Kovac.

“You can’t do everything overnight. I know that in football, you have no time, but in our case, we have it and we will show that it was the right way to do it.”