Monaco et les barrages, une aventure à part

Monaco et les barrages, une aventure à part

Almost three months after letting slip a direct qualification for the Champions League on the pitch at Bollaert, AS Monaco advance this Tuesday afternoon on the path that should lead them to the group stage. Even so, from the preparation to the signing through the mood of the group, these games represent much more than a simple ticket to fall into the arms of the orejones cup.

A few seconds, less than the time it takes for Maurizio Sarri to light up a cigarette and smoke a cigarette and roughly the time during which Julian Nagelsmann took tactical experimentation a little further by playing his Bayern twelve against Freiburg earlier in the season. april. This is especially what he will have missed on May 21 at AS Monaco, on the Bollaert pitch, to score a direct ticket to the group stage of the 2022-2023 Champions League.

Caught on the tightrope by a goal from Ignatius Ganago on the last day of Ligue 1, the Le Rocher players are therefore doomed to reappear a little earlier than the others and to allow themselves the first trips this August, including one in Eindhoven on August 9 after a stop on the Louis-II on Tuesday night. The beginning of a journey that the Monegasque club knows perfectly as it is about to live it for the sixth time since the early 2000s. An adventure that, in any case, will mainly condition the rest of Philippe Clement’s men’s season and whose first effects are already visible.

A preparation of TGV

The first: less than a month after the terrible scene lived on a lawn in Pas-de-Calais, the Monegasques were back in La Turbie. “It is a preparation that looks like all the others, but with a different timing.Loïc Badiashile poses, today at Burgos CF, in the Spanish second division, who entered the game 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 games so as not to arrive tired on the day of the play-offs, but also find the number of games you need to be able to prepare the whole group. as well as possible. Rankings are played with a group, not just a team. »

“There’s a blade match coming up, so it’s a bit of a change from the usual setup. » William Warmuz

Starter during the second leg against Betis in the middle of the summer of 2005 (2-2), Guillaume Warmuz abounds: “It is also not an exact science, but it is clear that the preparation is immediately new. A key match is coming up, so it changes a bit from the usual classic preparation, where we have a simple goal: the first day of the championship. » Important point: physicality is not the only area players need to be on the same page.

“Classifying is also mental preparationBadiashile continues. You have to have confidence in what the coach offers at that moment, in what you want to prepare and then the whole group has to give 100% and have confidence. » Getting ready sooner also requires closing the transfer window as soon as possible, something Paul Mitchell has been trying to do this summer. Several undesirables – Pietro Pellegri, Strahinja Pavlovic and Benjamin Lecomte – packed their bags as Breel Embolo and Takumi Minamino made their way into the red and white attack. Only one black point: the absence of a signing to compensate for the departure of Aurélien Tchouaméni to Real Madrid.

anything but vacation

The club will try to make up for this with its experience in the play-offs, despite the mixed results of the exercise. In five participations, the ASM has never stumbled in the first round (in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 it only needed one dam to reach the Champions League), but even so it was sent off three times at the end of the final. August (in 2005, 2015 and 2021).

This latest thrashing, against Shakhtar Donetsk, could well serve Wissam Ben Yedder’s team-mates in a match like no other. “It’s not even a start to the season. These play-offs materialize all the work of the previous seasonrecalls Loïc Badiashile. It’s a bit like ending the previous year in style because if you don’t qualify for the Champions League you feel like you’ve given everything for nothing. » And this difference in approach is immediately felt on the ground according to Benoît’s brother: “There was a different intensity and atmosphere. Everyone is involved, from start to finish. When I came in, I felt like we weren’t in the warm-up games anymore. Everyone encouraged me and I said to myself: “What’s going on? It’s a game, not the end of the world!” I felt that it was important for the whole club, for the coach, for everyone. I had never seen the coach so excited, so excited. That’s when 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 felt that it was important for the whole club, it was something very serious. » Loic Badiashile

Guillaume Warmuz validates: “Suddenly, we are like in a final, we prepare immediately. » An impression that must also be confirmed in the stands. Too often depopulated, the stretches of the Louis-II stadium should fill up this Tuesday night. “There are also more people. It is not necessarily only Monegasque fans who comecomments Loïc Badiashile. There are a lot of people because people are in the area on vacation and take the opportunity to come and watch the games. »

What is at stake before the match

When asked if it is possible to combine a play-off and a championship at the same level, Badiashile replies: “We are not going to lie to each other, no. In the European Cup there is more intensity, it makes everyone dream much more, all the players give 100%. It is true, it is. » Philippe Clement and his flock could therefore quickly lose some feathers in a calendar that promises to be more than abundant (Strasbourg, Rennes, Lens, PSG, Nice and Lyon during the first seven days).

“It is a double-edged sword. Winning these types of games kicks off a season that can be exceptional. » Loic Badiashile

Beyond these first meetings, the ASM really plays a good part of its season, and not only on the European scene, since Tuesday night. “It is a double-edged sword. Winning these types of games opens up a season that can be exceptional because in the end it gives you a very tough confidence to have throughout the season. says Loïc Badiahsile, well placed to know, since he was part of the group that had started a fabulous year -crowned with a title of French champion and half of C1- after a volley won against Fenerbahçe.

For Guillaume Warmuz, eliminated by Betis seventeen years ago, “You have to see the conditions and the course of the game. At that point, everything will be played in the strength of the group to get up immediately, recondition and prepare for the future in the league, especially since behind there is another European Cup to play anyway, even if it is not in the Champions League. still hard to swallow. » In view of the calendar that awaits them, the Monegasques would do well to qualify so as not to sink, starting in August, a season already complicated by the World Cup in November. Otherwise, they will probably have to take a good dose of baking soda to hope to digest as well as possible a second failure in a row.

By Florian Porta
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