The celebrated man of the game was not on the pitch, but on the sidelines. Niko Kovac led his team with a tactical masterpiece to the eighth league victory in the past nine games – and incidentally brought the high-flyers from the capital back down to earth with a crash.
PSG won 4-1 at FC Barcelona in the Champions League during the week. Striker Kylian Mbappé scored three goals. Against Monaco, however, there was no sign of the 22-year-old sky striker. (SERVICE: Ligue 1 schedule)
Kovac: “We had to take the ball from Mbappé”
“We had to push him twice and three times and take the ball from him,” said Kovac after the game Canal+. That his team succeeded was one of the keys to the success of the Monegasque.
Mbappé won only six of 15 tackles and lost the ball 27 times. In addition, he did not record a single shot on goal. It only happened to him for the third time in his career when he was in the starting line-up.
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The Monegasque are only two points short of PSG – and even Lille are still six points ahead of them. (SERVICE: Table of Ligue 1)
Kovac, who was fired from Bayern in November 2019 due to unsuccessfulness, defends himself against the budding title hopes and says: “We are not on the same level as Paris, Lille and Lyon.”
Monaco ready for the title?
The se Monegasque could legitimately succeed the team from May 2017,” writes France Football. At that time Monaco – with the then 18-year-old Mbappé – won the title and interrupted the years of dominance of Paris.
Why Kovac’s team is currently so highly traded, they demonstrated against Paris in tactical terms.
The former Leverkusen player played on the left in a five-man midfield and did very well there defensively.
The team and gave the 28-year-old a grade of 6 out of 10. Kovac himself had included Volland before SPORT1 referred to as “winning the lottery”.
The team Incidentally, it was rated better than all the players on the field and received a 9.
The Monegasque victory is his account, because his plan could not have worked better and his players fully supported him.”
Kovac was able to develop a hybrid scheme to rob Paris of the effect and to be dangerous even if necessary.
Kovac’s early leadership played into the cards
In order to develop this danger, Volland and his counterpart Diop on the right side repeatedly stabbed forward and supported the only nominal striker Wissam Ben Yedder in these situations in the attack.
That Diop scored the 1-0 for the guests early on, Kovac also played into his cards in his match plan. Right full-back Ruben Aguilar was able to retreat even further and support central defender Axel Disasi in guarding Mbappé.
“We defended very well and it was difficult for PSG to cross our lines because we shifted perfectly,” said Kovac after the game.
Also France Football wrote of a “plan that was prepared and implemented almost to perfection in an evening that bears the signature of Niko Kovac”.
The paper was certain that this game “will shape this season”.