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Monaco target knock out stage as Atletico loom

Monaco (AFP) – Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim admitted his current line up was not as fearsome as it once was, but that his players were hyped up with Atletico Madrid arriving for Tuesday’s Champions League clash.

In the 2016-2017 season Monaco beat Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund before losing to Juventus in the semi-finals, with club owner Dmitry Rybolovlev then selling a raft of stars headed by Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain.

Portuguese handler Jardim was swift to recognise at a pre-match press conference that while his side had sold, Atletico had kept hold of stars such as French striker Antoine Griezmann.

“Our opponent has a depth of both talent and experience, but here there are new faces, anyone who follows football knows this,” said Jardim.

“You might easily imagine new players need time to settle, but my players have the ambition to become a great side and to do that quickly,” he said.

“For Tuesday against Atletico, if we keep this attitude and be more technically sound, the goal will be to win. To start the competition with a win and do everything to qualify.”

Monaco however have won just one game so far this season and have just five points from five Ligue 1 outings.

Monaco will now be hoping that their big guns – captain Radamel Falcao and fellow attackers Stevan Jovetic, Rony Lopes and Aleksandr Golovin –  can return from injury in time for Atletico.

One of Monaco’s recent recruits the 21-year-old German defender Benjamin Henrichs agreed with his new coach.

“Atletico have some good players, great individuals in terms of attacking prowess. I saw them play, we are going to have to defend compactly,” he said.

“Playing in the Champions League might be an honour in itself, but we are here to get to the next round.”

Sat alongside him at the press conference Jardim nodded approval.

“We have to accept who we are, who they are and do our best, no moaning, just stay positive and ambitious.”

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