Monaco (AFP) – Leonardo Jardim has implored his Monaco players to iron out the mistakes that cost them dearly in the first leg as they attempt to overturn a 5-3 defeat in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16.
The Portuguese coach is drawing inspiration from Didier Deschamps’ Monaco side that made an unlikely run to the 2004 Champions League final, but Monaco face a tall order at the Stade Louis II against Pep Guardiola’s men.
“We lost the first game because of our mistakes, it’s the small details that cost us the game,” Jardim said during Tuesday’s press conference on the eve of the second leg.
“City were not better than us, if we play the same way without mistakes then I think we stand a good chance. Defensively, we have to be careful because we can’t repeat the same errors.”
Jardim singled out Monaco’s dramatic quarter-final victory over Real Madrid 13 years ago as the reference point for his players.
Beaten 4-2 in Spain in the first leg of that season’s last eight Monaco looked doomed when Real grabbed the lead in the principality, but two goals from Ludovic Giuly and one from on-loan Madrid striker Fernando Morientes capped a remarkable turnaround.
And like Deschamps, who on that famous night warned his players they would concede “one goal and perhaps the first of the match”, Jardim wants his team to stick to the game plan should a similar scenario arise.
“I think their individual quality will be dangerous and they can score at any time,” he warned.
“To qualify I think we need to score at least three goals. I think both teams will respect their DNA because I think it’s difficult to change the attacking mentality of the players.
“I think there’ll be a lot of space and attacking intent tomorrow and, perhaps, a lot of goals.”
– Falcao uncertain –
Radamel Falcao, who scored twice but missed a crucial penalty at the Etihad Stadium, appeared off the bench on his return from injury at the weekend, although Jardim is unsure whether the Colombian striker will be fit enough to start against City.
“Falcao is feeling better now but I don’t know if he’ll be able to start. We’ll wait until tomorrow to make a decision.”
City lured Pep Guardiola to Manchester to elevate the Premier League club to the ranks of Europe’s elite having reached the semi-finals under predecessor Manuel Pellegrini last season.
Guardiola captured the Champions League title with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 but suffered three consecutive semi-final exits over the past three seasons with Bayern Munich.
While his team are in a commanding position, the Spaniard stressed City must stick to their attacking instincts to close out the tie.
“The most difficult thing in football is thinking about your lead, you might be 2-0 up and so you forget to play football after that — you have to play the game…here has to be the game,” he said.
“I want to see a team from the first minute looking to win the game…after that at that level everyone can beat you.
“I want to see my team with feeling to win the game…I don’t like my team to speculate.”